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Social capital and social inequality in adolescents’ health in 601 Flemish communities: A multilevel analysis

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Author Info

  • De Clercq, B.
  • Vyncke, V.
  • Hublet, A.
  • Elgar, F.J.
  • Ravens-Sieberer, U.
  • Currie, C.
  • Hooghe, M.
  • Ieven, A.
  • Maes, L.
Registered author(s):

    Abstract

    Although it is widely acknowledged that community social capital plays an important role in young people’s health, there is limited evidence on the effect of community social capital on the social gradient in child and adolescent health. Using data from the 2005–2006 Flemish (Belgium) Health Behavior among School-aged Children survey (601 communities, n = 10,915), this study investigated whether community social capital is an independent determinant of adolescents’ perceived health and well-being after taking account of individual compositional characteristics (e.g. the gender composition within a certain community). Multilevel statistical procedures were used to estimate neighborhood effects while controlling for individual level effects. Results show that individual level factors (such as family affluence and individual social capital) are positively related to perceived health and well-being and that community level social capital predicted health better than individual social capital. A significant complex interaction effect was found, such that the social gradient in perceived health and well-being (i.e. the slope of family affluence on health) was flattened in communities with a high level of community social capital. Furthermore it seems that socioeconomic status differences in perceived health and well-being substantially narrow in communities where a certain (average) level of community social capital is present. This should mean that individuals living in communities with a low level of community social capital especially benefit from an increase in community social capital. The paper substantiates the need to connect individual health to their meso socioeconomic context and this being intrinsically within a multilevel framework.

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    Bibliographic Info

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

    Volume (Year): 74 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 2 ()
    Pages: 202-210

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:74:y:2012:i:2:p:202-210

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    Related research

    Keywords: Belgium; Health promotion; Youth; Social gradient; Social capital; Inequalities; Neighborhoods;

    References

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    1. Veenstra, Gerry, 2005. "Location, location, location: contextual and compositional health effects of social capital in British Columbia, Canada," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 60(9), pages 2059-2071, May.
    2. Ziersch, Anna M & Baum, Fran E & MacDougall, Colin & Putland, Christine, 2005. "Neighbourhood life and social capital: the implications for health," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 71-86, January.
    3. Folland, Sherman, 2007. "Does "community social capital" contribute to population health?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 64(11), pages 2342-2354, June.
    4. Macintyre, Sally & Ellaway, Anne & Cummins, Steven, 2002. "Place effects on health: how can we conceptualise, operationalise and measure them?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 125-139, July.
    5. Hawe, Penelope & Shiell, Alan, 2000. "Social capital and health promotion: a review," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 51(6), pages 871-885, September.
    6. Duncan, Craig & Jones, Kelvyn & Moon, Graham, 1998. "Context, composition and heterogeneity: Using multilevel models in health research," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 97-117, January.
    7. Oakes, J. Michael, 2004. "The (mis)estimation of neighborhood effects: causal inference for a practicable social epidemiology," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 58(10), pages 1929-1952, May.
    8. Poortinga, Wouter, 2006. "Social capital: An individual or collective resource for health?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 292-302, January.
    9. Currie, Candace & Molcho, Michal & Boyce, William & Holstein, Bjørn & Torsheim, Torbjørn & Richter, Matthias, 2008. "Researching health inequalities in adolescents: The development of the Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children (HBSC) Family Affluence Scale," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 66(6), pages 1429-1436, March.
    10. Subramanian, S. V. & Kawachi, Ichiro & Kennedy, Bruce P., 2001. "Does the state you live in make a difference? Multilevel analysis of self-rated health in the US," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 9-19, July.
    11. Drukker, Marjan & Kaplan, Charles & Feron, Frans & van Os, Jim, 2003. "Children's health-related quality of life, neighbourhood socio-economic deprivation and social capital. A contextual analysis," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 57(5), pages 825-841, September.
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    Cited by:
    1. 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.

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