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dc.contributor.advisorHowden-Chapman, Philippa
dc.contributor.advisorDew, Kevin
dc.contributor.authorO'Sullivan, Kimberley Clare
dc.date.available2010-07-29T04:42:24Z
dc.date.copyright2009
dc.identifier.citationO’Sullivan, K. C. (2009). ‘Gee my account is in credit!’ Qualitative component of the Warm Homes Pilot Study (Thesis, Master of Public Health). University of Otago. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10523/367en
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10523/367
dc.description.abstractFuel poverty, or the inability to heat one’s home to World Health Organisation recommended standards for less than 10% of household income, is a significant social and public health problem in New Zealand. Those particularly at risk of fuel poverty include older people and those with chronic illness or disability. Despite estimates that around 23% of the total population of New Zealand may be experiencing fuel poverty, limited research of the phenomenon has been undertaken to date. This thesis describes the qualitative component of the Warm Homes Pilot Study, a pilot for a randomised community intervention trial undertaken in the winter of 2007. The study was designed to raise indoor temperatures and reduce morbidity among older people with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, a respiratory condition that is sensitive to cold temperatures and has a significant burden in New Zealand. Participants were given a $500 electricity ‘voucher’, directly credited to their electricity accounts. The qualitative study aimed to explore the narratives of nine older COPD patients who live in cold homes in relation to home heating and health, in order to investigate the social implications of fuel poverty. Semi-structured interviews were undertaken with nine participants, around the topics of home use, heating patterns and costs, and the acceptability of electricity vouchers. Labovian Structural Narrative Analysis was used to analyse the data collected. The results of this study showed that fuel poverty is a real problem experienced by the participants and their community. Participants identified housing quality and improvements that could be made to improve the thermal efficiency of their houses to make achieving adequate indoor temperatures more affordable. Heating patterns and methods for coping with the cold were described, and five of the participants indicated that being cold has a negative effect on their illness. Methods of saving electricity to mitigate electricity expenses, and trade-offs made to afford electricity were described. Some participants also spoke about their fear of disconnection because of their reliance on medical equipment. The use of electricity vouchers directly credited to electricity accounts to reduce fuel poverty was unanimously supported by the participants, particularly for older people who were identified by the group as often struggling with electricity costs. There was some disagreement between participants about how best to benefit from electricity vouchers, suggesting that not all of the benefit was taken as increased heating. While participants gave mixed reactions to the description ‘fuel poverty’, they believed that fuel poverty is a problem experienced by people in their own community and within New Zealand. This study provides some social context to the problem of fuel poverty in New Zealand through exploration of the narratives around home heating and health of a particularly disadvantaged group. It raises the problem of the extra expenses incurred through using prepayment meters. It is hoped that this study will inform the main study, and stimulate further research and discussion about how best to address fuel poverty in New Zealand.en_NZ
dc.format.mimetypeapplication/pdf
dc.publisherUniversity of Otago
dc.rightshttp://www.otago.ac.nz/administration/policies/otago003228.htmlen_NZ
dc.rightsAll items in OUR Archive are provided for private study and research purposes and are protected by copyright with all rights reserved unless otherwise indicated.
dc.rights.urihttp://www.otago.ac.nz/administration/policies/otago003228.html
dc.subjectfuel povertyen_NZ
dc.subjectnarrative analysisen_NZ
dc.subjectelectricityen_NZ
dc.subjectchronic obstructive pulmonary diseaseen_NZ
dc.subjectqualitativeen_NZ
dc.subjectheatingen_NZ
dc.subjectelderlyen_NZ
dc.subjectprepaymenten_NZ
dc.title“Gee my account is in credit!” Qualitative component of the Warm Homes Pilot Studyen_NZ
dc.typeThesis
dc.date.updated2010-07-29T04:11:25Z
thesis.degree.disciplineDepartment of Public Health, Wellingtonen_NZ
thesis.degree.nameMaster of Public Healthen_NZ
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Otago
thesis.degree.levelMasters Theses
otago.openaccessOpen
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