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Individual and neighbourhood determinants of social participation and social capital: a multilevel analysis of the city of Malmö, Sweden

  • Lindström, Martin
  • Merlo, Juan
  • Östergren, Per-Olof
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    The aim of this study was to analyse the impact of neighbourhood on individual social capital (measured as social participation). The study population consisted of 14,390 individuals aged 45-73 that participated in the Malmö diet and cancer study in 1992-1994, residing in 90 neighbourhoods of Malmö, Sweden (population 250,000). A multilevel logistic regression model, with individuals at the first level and neighbourhoods at the second level, was performed. The study analysed the effect (intra-area correlation and cross-level modification) of the neighbourhood on individual social capital after adjustment for compositional factors (e.g. age, sex, educational level, occupational status, disability pension, living alone, sick leave, unemployment) and, finally, one contextual migration factor. The prevalence of low social participation varied from 23.0% to 39.7% in the first and third neighbourhood quartiles, respectively. Neighbourhood factors accounted for 6.3% of the total variance in social participation, and this effect was reduced but not eliminated when adjusting for all studied variables (-73%), especially the occupational composition of the neighbourhoods (-58%). The contextual migration variable further reduced the variance in social participation at the neighbourhood level to some extent. Our study supports Putnam's notion that social capital, which is suggested to be an important factor for population health and possibly for health equity, is an aspect that is partly contextual in its nature.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6VBF-45R762V-5/2/12821344a8d01c35669c675641e8ad13
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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Social Science & Medicine.

    Volume (Year): 54 (2002)
    Issue (Month): 12 (June)
    Pages: 1779-1791

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:54:y:2002:i:12:p:1779-1791
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