Neighbourhood life and social capital: the implications for health
Social capital has been linked to health outcomes, though there are some inconsistencies in the research and the link is dependent on the measures of social capital and health used. In this paper, we argue that social capital is multifaceted and its relationship with health is complex. We explore the relationship between a number of elements of neighbourhood life and neighbourhood-based social capital, and health, using both qualitative and quantitative methods. The paper reports on a study of the Western suburbs of Adelaide and the analysis of 2400 questionnaires and 40 in-depth interviews. A partial least-square path analysis was undertaken with the questionnaire data. It considered the impact of perceptions of the physical environment, neighbourhood connections, neighbourhood trust, reciprocity, perceived safety and local civic action, and a number of demographic variables, on physical and mental health as measured by the SF-12. Of the neighbourhood-related variables, only perceived neighbourhood safety was related to physical health, with neighbourhood safety and neighbourhood connections related to mental health. Of the demographic variables, higher-income level and educational achievement were related to better physical and mental health. In addition, physical health was lower and mental health higher within older age groups. The inter-relationships between the neighbourhood variables and demographic differences in experience of neighbourhood were also examined. The thematic analysis of the interviews linked a number of social aspects of neighbourhood, the physical neighbourhood environment, perceptions of safety, civic activities and availability of local services, to health outcomes. The paper concludes that there is a need for more complex measures of social capital and that socio-economic factors are of relatively greater importance in determining health.
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Volume (Year): 60 (2005)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
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References listed on IDEAS
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- Ray Forrest & Ade Kearns, 2001. "Social Cohesion, Social Capital and the Neighbourhood," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 38(12), pages 2125-2143, November.
- Hawe, Penelope & Shiell, Alan, 2000. "Social capital and health promotion: a review," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 51(6), pages 871-885, September.
- 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.
- Denice DiPasquale & Edward L. Glaeser, 1997.
"Incentives and Social Capital: Are Homeowners Better Citizens?,"
Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers
1815, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
- DiPasquale, Denise & Glaeser, Edward L., 1999. "Incentives and Social Capital: Are Homeowners Better Citizens?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(2), pages 354-384, March.
- Denise DiPasquale & Edward L. Glaeser, 1998. "Incentives and Social Capital: Are Homeowners Better Citizens?," NBER Working Papers 6363, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Veenstra, Gerry, 2000. "Social capital, SES and health: an individual-level analysis," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 50(5), pages 619-629, March.
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