Research type 
Desk research
Year of report 

Summary of findings


The quantitative survey research data was subjected to a cluster analysis, which identified five key segments.  These five groups make up the five motivational groups.  These groups can be found within every social stratum in society – from the most deprived areas to the most affluent.

  1. Balanced compensators (17 per cent)
  2. Health conscious realists (21 per cent)
  3. Unconfident fatalists (18 per cent)
  4. Live for today’s (25 per cent)
  5. Hedonistic immortals (19 per cent)

Quantitative analysis by deprivation

The quantitative research analysed the segments by levels of deprivation using the Indices of Multiple Deprivation (IMD), resulting in 11 distinct segments.  This segmentation was able to capture the dynamic between an individual’s personal motivation to live healthily (high or low motivation) and how these motivations vary within the context of their social and material circumstances (positive or negative environment).  The segmentation also captures the variation in these measures by life stage.  The quantitative data can be analysed via means of a quadrant analysis, as follows:

  1. Thrivers - Positive environment, high motivation. Health Conscious Realists and Balanced Compensators who are living in less deprived, more health positive environments who have a higher level of motivation to look after their health. People in this group are more motivated to look after their health and feel more able to do so. They are surrounded by the resources and positive norms to make that happen.
  2. Fighters - Negative environment, high motivation. Health Conscious Realists and Balanced Compensators living in poor areas. They are people living in negative health environments, but who are standing above their norms, and who have a higher level of motivation to look after their health.  These segments live in the same conditions as the 'surviving' group; indeed, some of them may be in the same family. There may be a number of reasons why they have managed to maintain a healthier lifestyle and exhibit a degree of resilience to the deprivation surrounding them. Whatever the reasons that emerge from research, this group has great potential to influence their 'survivor group' peers.
  3. Survivors - Negative environment, low motivation.  Hedonistic Immortals, Live for Today’s and Unconfident Fatalists living in more deprived areas.  These tend to be people living in negative health environments who have a low level of motivation to look after their health. Within this group there will be many people with unhealthy behaviours and a higher proportion than average will have poor health. Their position on the motivation scale indicates that they feel less control over their health and have less confidence in their ability to do anything about improving it or preventing ill health. Their position on the environment dimension indicates that they will be living in more deprived circumstances, which will make it more difficult for them to change their lifestyle. Moreover, in some of the most deprived communities in England the social norms make it difficult for those wishing to change. For example, levels of smoking prevalence can be over 50 per cent in some areas, making the process of giving up much more difficult. If one of the main purposes of segmentation is to target resources where they are needed, these segments would clearly be a priority for appropriately tailored interventions and services.
  4. Disengaged - Positive environment, low motivation. Hedonistic Immortals, Live for Today’s and Unconfident Fatalists who are living in less deprived areas. These are people living in more positive environments who for a range of reasons have a low level of motivation or ability to look after their health.

Quantitative analysis by lifestage

As a person travels through different lifestages there are numerous events and opportunities associated with that lifestage, which can precipitate healthy or unhealthy behaviours.  In this segmentation lifestage has been defined by nine groups.  Within each group the distribution of the segments can be calculated.

  1. Discovery teens
  2. Freedom years
  3. Younger settlers (no dependents) aged <45
  4. Younger jugglers (dependents) aged <45
  5. Older settlers (no dependents) aged 45+
  6. Older jugglers (dependents) aged 45+
  7. Alone again
  8. Active retirement
  9. Ageing retirement

The segmentation was initially designed to be used at national level, but as the project developed additional tools and resources have stretched its application for use at local level.  For example, by integrating the data with TGI and MOSAIC.

Research objectives


This research consisted of a quantitative segmentation followed up by qualitative research.  The objectives of the quantitative research were to develop a fully robust and quantified, strategic and holistic population based health segmentation for England.



The research was commissioned as part of a wider project by the Department of Health Social Marketing and Health-Related Behaviour Team to construct a segmentation of the English population based upon health-related behaviour and attitudes, using quantitative and qualitative methods. The research forms part of the DH social marketing programme and its Ambitions for Health strategy.

The overall objective is to provide the Department of Health (DH) a much more coherent view of the nation by segmenting the population into different target audience groups, based on their health motivations and attitudes, personal circumstances and ability to lead healthier lives.

Quick summary


This research aimed to develop a cross-issue segmentation of the population to provide the basis for a strategic approach to health promotion in England.

Audience Summary








People aged 12 to 74

Social Class


•  60 per cent of the sample (called the core sample) was drawn from a nationally representative (England only) sampling frame, after stratification by IMD, strategic health authority (SHA) and population density. Some 255 sampling points were drawn as part of the core sample
•  40 per cent of the sample (called the deprived boost sample) was drawn from the 10 per cent most deprived areas in England, following stratification by SHA and population density. Some 166 sampling points were drawn as part of the deprived boost sample



  • Review of current literature
  • Two stages of piloting to reduce and refine the construction of the motivational dimension
  • Cognitive piloting to test questionnaire length and flow
  • Supporting qualitative research among individuals from ethnic minority backgrounds

Data collection methodology


Sample size


5,380 people were interviewed

Fieldwork dates


March to June 2008

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Research agency


COI Number