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Health implications of access to social capital: findings from an Australian study


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  • Ziersch, Anna M.
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    This paper considers the health implications of access to social capital (SC) using data from a survey of households in two suburbs in Adelaide, Australia. SC was conceptualised as comprising 'infrastructure'--the networks and values that facilitate access to resources; and 'resources'--the resources available through this infrastructure. Questionnaires were delivered to all households in the area, asking the adult with the next birthday to complete it. In all, 530 (50%) were returned. A partial least-squares path analysis was undertaken using demographic, SC and health latent variables, and a measure of perceived relative advantage. Three infrastructure (values, formal networks and informal networks) and four resource (help, acceptance by neighbours, civic activities and feelings of control) variables were considered. Mental and physical health were measured using the SF-12. The values variable was associated with all the resource variables, the informal networks variable was related to help, and the formal networks variable was associated with civic actions. There were significant sociodemographic differences in a number of the infrastructure and resource variables, as well as mental and physical health. Those who were better off materially also had greater access to elements of SC, and reported better health. Values, informal networks, help, and control were all directly or indirectly positively associated with better mental health. No SC variables were associated with physical health. Perceived relative advantage was positively associated with a number of SC variables and also mental and physical health. The implications for health promotion are discussed.

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    Bibliographic Info

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

    Volume (Year): 61 (2005)
    Issue (Month): 10 (November)
    Pages: 2119-2131

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:61:y:2005:i:10:p:2119-2131

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    Keywords: Social capital Health inequities Networks Case study Path analysis Australia;


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    Cited by:
    1. Cretien Campen & Marc Santvoort, 2013. "Explaining Low Subjective Well-Being of Persons with Disabilities in Europe: The Impact of Disability, Personal Resources, Participation and Socio-Economic Status," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 111(3), pages 839-854, May.
    2. Verhaeghe, Pieter-Paul & Tampubolon, Gindo, 2012. "Individual social capital, neighbourhood deprivation, and self-rated health in England," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 349-357.
    3. Neena Chappell & Laura Funk, 2010. "Social Capital: Does it Add to the Health Inequalities Debate?," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 99(3), pages 357-373, December.
    4. 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.


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