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Social capital: An individual or collective resource for health?

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  • Poortinga, Wouter
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    Abstract

    Although it is now widely acknowledged that the social environment plays an important role in people's health and well-being, there is considerable disagreement about whether social capital is a collective attribute of communities or societies, or whether its beneficial properties are associated with individuals and their social relationships. Using data from the European Social Survey (22 countries, N=42,358), this study suggests that, rather than having a contextual influence on health, the beneficial properties of social capital can be found at the individual level. Individual levels of social trust and civic participation were strongly associated with self-rated health. At the same time, the aggregate social trust and civic participation variables at the national level were not related to people's subjective health after controlling for compositional differences in socio-demographics. Despite the absence of a main contextual effect, the current study found a more complex cross-level interaction for social capital. Trusting and socially active individuals more often report good or very good health in countries with high levels of social capital than individuals with lower levels of trust and civic participation, but are less likely to do so in countries with low levels of social capital. This suggests that social capital does not uniformly benefit individuals living in the same community or society.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6VBF-4GMS9GY-1/2/2359ddb844478b9cb67a3aeae0e9f821
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    Bibliographic Info

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

    Volume (Year): 62 (2006)
    Issue (Month): 2 (January)
    Pages: 292-302

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:62:y:2006:i:2:p:292-302

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    Related research

    Keywords: Social capital Social trust Self-rated health Multilevel modelling European social survey;

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    Cited by:
    1. Peter Kitchen & Allison Williams & Dylan Simone, 2012. "Measuring Social Capital in Hamilton, Ontario," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 108(2), pages 215-238, September.
    2. 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.
    3. Webel, Allison R. & Cuca, Yvette & Okonsky, Jennifer G. & Asher, Alice K. & Kaihura, Alphoncina & Salata, Robert A., 2013. "The impact of social context on self-management in women living with HIV," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 147-154.
    4. 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.
    5. Tina Rochelle & Steven Shardlow, 2013. "Quality of Social Networks Among UK Chinese," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 114(2), pages 425-439, November.
    6. Saharnaz Nedjat & Reza Majdzadeh & Azita Kheiltash & Ensiyeh Jamshidi & Shahryar Yazdani, 2013. "Social Capital in Association with Socioeconomic Variables in Iran," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 113(3), pages 1153-1170, September.
    7. Folland, Sherman & Islam, Muhammad Quamrul & Kaarbøe, Oddvar Martin, 2012. "The Social Capital and Health Hypothesis: A Theory and New Empirics Featuring the Norwegian HUNT Data," Working Papers in Economics 04/12, University of Bergen, Department of Economics.
    8. B. d'Hombres & L. Rocco & M. Suhrcke & M. McKee, 2010. "Does social capital determine health? Evidence from eight transition countries," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(1), pages 56-74.
    9. 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.
    10. 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.
    11. Daniel Kim & Christopher F Baum & Michael Ganz & S.V. Subramanian & Ichiro Kawachi, 2011. "The contextual effects of social capital on health: a cross-national instrumental variable analysis," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 786, Boston College Department of Economics.
    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. Sehee Han & Heaseung Kim & Hee-Sun Lee, 2013. "A Multilevel Analysis of the Compositional and Contextual Association of Social Capital and Subjective Well-Being in Seoul, South Korea," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 111(1), pages 185-202, March.
    14. Liam Delaney & Pat Wall & Fearghal O'hAodha, 2007. "Social Capital & Self-Rated Health in the Republic of Ireland. Evidence from the European Social Survey," Working Papers 200707, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
    15. Browne-Yung, Kathryn & Ziersch, Anna & Baum, Fran & Gallaher, Gilbert, 2013. "Aboriginal Australians' experience of social capital and its relevance to health and wellbeing in urban settings," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 20-28.
    16. Chau-kiu Cheung & Lih-rong Wang & Raymond Chan, 2013. "Differential Impacts of Stressors on Sense of Belonging," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 113(1), pages 277-297, August.
    17. Kwok Tong & Eva Hung & Sze Yuen, 2011. "The Quality of Social Networks: Its Determinants and Impacts on Helping and Volunteering in Macao," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 102(2), pages 351-361, June.
    18. David, Antonio C. & Li, Carmen A., 2008. "Exploring the links between HIV/AIDS, social capital, and development," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4679, The World Bank.
    19. Nikoleta Jones, 2010. "Investigating the influence of social costs and benefits of environmental policies through social capital theory," Policy Sciences, Springer, vol. 43(3), pages 229-244, September.
    20. Sehee Han & Heaseung Kim & Eung-Sun Lee & Hee-Sun Lee, 2013. "The Contextual and Compositional Associations of Social Capital and Subjective Happiness: A Multilevel Analysis from Seoul, South Korea," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 14(4), pages 1183-1200, August.
    21. Antonio Rodrigues & Rita Santos, 2011. "Growth Dynamics and Social Inequality in European Regions," ERSA conference papers ersa10p1100, European Regional Science Association.
    22. Douhou, Salima & Van Soest, Arthur, 2013. "Explaining subjective well-being: The role of victimization, trust, health, and social norms," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 52-78.

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