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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


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.

Suggested Citation

  • Lindström, Martin & Merlo, Juan & Östergren, Per-Olof, 2002. "Individual and neighbourhood determinants of social participation and social capital: a multilevel analysis of the city of Malmö, Sweden," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 54(12), pages 1779-1791, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:54:y:2002:i:12:p:1779-1791

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    Cited by:

    1. Araya, Ricardo & Dunstan, Frank & Playle, Rebecca & Thomas, Hollie & Palmer, Stephen & Lewis, Glyn, 2006. "Perceptions of social capital and the built environment and mental health," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 62(12), pages 3072-3083, June.
    2. 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.
    3. Berry, Helen Louise & Rodgers, Bryan & Dear, Keith B.G., 2007. "Preliminary development and validation of an Australian community participation questionnaire: Types of participation and associations with distress in a coastal community," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 64(8), pages 1719-1737, April.
    4. Hyytinen, Ari & Lahtonen, Jukka, 2013. "The effect of physical activity on long-term income," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 96(C), pages 129-137.
    5. Pampalon, Robert & Hamel, Denis & De Koninck, Maria & Disant, Marie-Jeanne, 2007. "Perception of place and health: Differences between neighbourhoods in the Québec City region," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 95-111, July.
    6. Daoud, Nihaya & Shankardass, Ketan & O’Campo, Patricia & Anderson, Kim & Agbaria, Ayman K., 2012. "Internal displacement and health among the Palestinian minority in Israel," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 74(8), pages 1163-1171.
    7. repec:spr:ijphth:v:63:y:2018:i:3:d:10.1007_s00038-017-1065-3 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Wim Hardyns & Veerle Vyncke & Arne Boeck & Lieven Pauwels & Sara Willems, 2016. "Are Collective Efficacy, Disorder and Social Support Associated with One’s Quality of Life? Evidence from the Multilevel SWING Study in Belgium," Applied Research in Quality of Life, Springer;International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies, vol. 11(3), pages 739-756, September.


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