Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Socioeconomic differences in leisure-time physical activity: the role of social participation and social capital in shaping health related behaviour


Author Info

  • Lindström, Martin
  • Hanson, Bertil S.
  • Östergren, Per-Olof
Registered author(s):


    Several studies have shown socioeconomic differences in leisure-time physical activity. One explanation may be socioeconomic differences in relevant psychosocial conditions. The Malmö Diet and Cancer Study is a prospective cohort study including inhabitants in Malmö, Sweden. The baseline questionnaire used in this cross-sectional study was completed by the 11,837 participants born 1926-1945 in 1992-1994. Leisure-time physical activity was measured by an item presenting a variety of activities. These activities were aggregated into a summary measure of leisure-time physical activity that takes both the intensity and duration of each specific activity into consideration. The effects of the psychosocial variables on the socioeconomic differences in leisure-time physical activity were calculated in a multivariate logistic regression analysis. The quartile with the lowest degree of leisure-time physical activity was not evenly distributed between the socioeconomic groups. Socioeconomic differences were seen as odds ratios 1.5 for skilled and 1.5 for unskilled male manual workers, compared to the high level non-manual employees. An OR 1.6 was observed for female unskilled manual workers. Self-employed men and female pensioners also had a significantly increased risk of low leisure-time physical activity. Adjustment for age, country of origin and previous/current diseases had no effect on these SES differences. Finally, adjusting for social participation almost completely erased the SES differences. Among the psychosocial variables, social participation was the strongest predictor of low physical activity, and a strong predictor for socioeconomic differences in low leisure-time physical activity. Social participation measures the individual's social activities in, for example political parties and organisations. It therefore seems possible that some of the socioeconomic differences in leisure-time physical activity are due to differing social capital between socioeconomic groups.

    Download Info

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Bibliographic Info

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

    Volume (Year): 52 (2001)
    Issue (Month): 3 (February)
    Pages: 441-451

    as in new window
    Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:52:y:2001:i:3:p:441-451

    Contact details of provider:
    Web page:

    Order Information:

    Related research

    Keywords: Socioeconomic status Leisure-time physical activity Social participation Social capital Sweden;


    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as in new window

    Cited by:
    1. Shortt, S. E. D., 2004. "Making sense of social capital, health and policy," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 11-22, October.
    2. Jennifer M. Mellor & Jeffrey Milyo, 2004. "State Social Capital and Individual Health Status," Working Papers 05, Department of Economics, College of William and Mary.
    3. Sessions, John G. & Yu, Ge & Wall, Martin, 2011. "Social Capital and Health : A Longitudinal Analysis from the British Household Panel Survey," Department of Economics Working Papers 37934, University of Bath, Department of Economics.
    4. Lindström, Martin, 2009. "Marital status, social capital, material conditions and self-rated health: A population-based study," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 93(2-3), pages 172-179, December.
    5. Favara, Marta, 2012. ""United we stand divided we fall": maternal social participation and children's nutritional status in Peru," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6264, The World Bank.
    6. Simone Becker, 2011. "Der Einfluss der Gesundheitszufriedenheit auf die Sportaktivität: eine empirische Längsschnittanalyse mit den Daten des sozio-oekonomischen Panels," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 400, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    7. Legh-Jones, Hannah & Moore, Spencer, 2012. "Network social capital, social participation, and physical inactivity in an urban adult population," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 74(9), pages 1362-1367.
    8. Cleland, Verity & Ball, Kylie & Crawford, David, 2012. "Socioeconomic position and physical activity among women in Melbourne, Australia: Does the use of different socioeconomic indicators matter?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 74(10), pages 1578-1583.


    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.


    Access and download statistics


    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:52:y:2001:i:3:p:441-451. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei).

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.