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Social capital and health promotion: a review

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  • Hawe, Penelope
  • Shiell, Alan
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    Abstract

    Interest in social capital and health has emerged at an exciting time. In public health, there is a renewed interest in mechanisms that link social inequalities and health. In epidemiology, there has been a critical interrogation of methods and a call for a more explicit use of theory. In health promotion over the last 20-30 years, social health interventions have been somewhat marginalised in an era dominated by interest in traditional cardiovascular disease risk factors. Now that social hypotheses are being reborn in health, there is a risk that the sophistication that has developed in social health promotion and the literatures that have informed it could be overlooked. In this paper, we present a brief history of social capital and how it has come into recent prominence through the debate linking income inequality and health. We present the background to this, the earlier literatures on social environmental influences on health and the possible processes thought to underlie this relationship. Social capital has relational, material and political aspects. We suggest that, although the relational properties of social capital are important (eg, trust, networks), the political aspects of social capital are perhaps under recognised. The paper also reviews how complex social processes at the community level have come to be operationalised by social theorists and intervention agents in other fields. We suggest that social capital research so far has inadequately captured the underlying constructs, in particular the qualitative difference between the macro/context level and the micro/individual level. While being cautious about the science, we conclude that social capital's power as rhetoric and as a metaphor may be of value. We conclude by suggesting that the coalescence of interests in context-level influences on health now invites a revitalisation of theories and interventions inspired by diverse fields, such as geography and ecological community psychology.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Social Science & Medicine.

    Volume (Year): 51 (2000)
    Issue (Month): 6 (September)
    Pages: 871-885

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:51:y:2000:i:6:p:871-885

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    Related research

    Keywords: Social capital Social environment Social context Health promotion;

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    Cited by:
    1. Christoph Bühler & Dimiter Philipov, 2005. "Social Capital Related to Fertility: Theoretical Foundations and Empirical Evidence from Bulgaria," Vienna Yearbook of Population Research, Vienna Institute of Demography (VID) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna, vol. 3(1), pages 53-81.
    2. Patrick Peretti-Watel, 2006. "Social Contact and Health of the Homeless. State of Health, Health-Care Use, Alcohol Abuse and Relationships of the Users of Homeless Support Services," Economie et Statistique, Institut National de la Statistique et des Etudes Economiques, vol. 391, pages 115-130, October.
    3. Thierry Debrand & Nicolas Sirven, 2008. "Promoting Social Participation for Healthy Ageing - A Counterfactual Analysis from the Survey of Health, Ageing, and Retirement in Europe (SHARE)," Working Papers DT7, IRDES institut for research and information in health economics, revised Jan 2008.
    4. Timothy T. Brown & Richard M. Scheffler & Sukyong Seo & Mary Reed, 2006. "The empirical relationship between community social capital and the demand for cigarettes," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(11), pages 1159-1172.
    5. Stavros Petrou & Emil Kupek, 2008. "Social capital and its relationship with measures of health status: evidence from the Health Survey for England 2003," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(1), pages 127-143.
    6. Chau-kiu Cheung & Kwan-kwok Leung, 2012. "Social Mitigation of the Impact of Urban Renewal on Residents’ Morale," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 106(3), pages 523-543, May.
    7. Christoph Bühler & Dimiter Philipov, 2005. "Social capital related to fertility: theoretical foundations and empirical evidence from Bulgaria," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2005-016, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    8. Wagemakers, Annemarie & Vaandrager, Lenneke & Koelen, Maria A. & Saan, Hans & Leeuwis, Cees, 2010. "Community health promotion: A framework to facilitate and evaluate supportive social environments for health," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 428-435, November.
    9. Bryant, Toba & Leaver, Chad & Dunn, James, 2009. "Unmet healthcare need, gender, and health inequalities in Canada," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 91(1), pages 24-32, June.
    10. De Clercq, B. & Vyncke, V. & Hublet, A. & Elgar, F.J. & Ravens-Sieberer, U. & Currie, C. & Hooghe, M. & Ieven, A. & Maes, L., 2012. "Social capital and social inequality in adolescents’ health in 601 Flemish communities: A multilevel analysis," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 74(2), pages 202-210.
    11. Patricia López Rodríguez & Isidro Soloaga & Rodolfo de la Torre García, 2012. "Capital social y políticas públicas: análisis del efecto del programa de coinversión social sobre las organizaciones de la sociedad civil," Serie documentos de trabajo del Centro de Estudios Económicos 2012-02, El Colegio de México, Centro de Estudios Económicos.
    12. Yasuharu Tokuda & Takashi Inoguchi, 2008. "Interpersonal Mistrust and Unhappiness Among Japanese People," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 89(2), pages 349-360, November.
    13. Barry Chiswick & Donka Mirtcheva, 2013. "Religion and Child Health: Religious Affiliation, Importance, and Attendance and Health Status among American Youth," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 34(1), pages 120-140, March.
    14. Cheung, Chau-kiu & Chan, Raymond Kwok-hong, 2008. "Facilitating achievement by social capital in Japan," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 37(6), pages 2261-2277, December.
    15. Giordano, Giuseppe Nicola & Björk, Jonas & Lindström, Martin, 2012. "Social capital and self-rated health – A study of temporal (causal) relationships," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 340-348.
    16. Reininger, Belinda M. & Rahbar, Mohammad H. & Lee, MinJae & Chen, Zhongxue & Alam, Sartaj R. & Pope, Jennifer & Adams, Barbara, 2013. "Social capital and disaster preparedness among low income Mexican Americans in a disaster prone area," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 83(C), pages 50-60.
    17. Shortt, S. E. D., 2004. "Making sense of social capital, health and policy," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 11-22, October.
    18. Browne-Yung, Kathryn & Ziersch, Anna & Baum, Fran, 2013. "‘Faking til you make it’: Social capital accumulation of individuals on low incomes living in contrasting socio-economic neighbourhoods and its implications for health and wellbeing," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 85(C), pages 9-17.
    19. Nauenberg, Eric & Laporte, Audrey & Shen, Leilei, 2011. "Social capital, community size and utilization of health services: A lagged analysis," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 103(1), pages 38-46.

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