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Location, location, location: contextual and compositional health effects of social capital in British Columbia, Canada

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  • Veenstra, Gerry

Abstract

After decades of epidemiological exploration into individual-level risk factors for ill health, a recent surge of interest in the health effects of socially patterned attributes of geographically defined 'places' has given the structural side of the agency-structure debate new prominence in population health research. Utilizing two original data sets, one pertaining to features of communities in British Columbia, Canada and the other to characteristics of individuals living in them, this article distinguishes the health effects of socially patterned attributes of communities, including the social capital of communities, from the health effects of characteristics of residents that contribute to social capital, e.g., trust and participation in voluntary associations. Results from multilevel analysis demonstrated that, of three different individual-level measures of health and well-being (and including measures of long-term limiting illness and self-rated health), only a measure of depressive symptoms had variability that could be reasonably attributed to the level of the community. The social capital of communities in the form of the availability of public spaces explained some of this variability, but in the direction contrary to expectations. Overall, location (community of residence) did little to explicate health inequalities in this context. The strongest predictors of health in multivariate and multilevel models were characteristics of individual survey respondents, namely, income, trust in politicians and governments, and trust in other members of the community. Breadth of participation in networks of voluntary association was not significantly related to health in multivariate models.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:60:y:2005:i:9:p:2059-2071
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Mansyur, Carol & Amick, Benjamin C. & Harrist, Ronald B. & Franzini, Luisa, 2008. "Social capital, income inequality, and self-rated health in 45 countries," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 43-56, January.
    2. Dean, Wesley R. & Sharkey, Joseph R., 2011. "Food insecurity, social capital and perceived personal disparity in a predominantly rural region of Texas: An individual-level analysis," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 72(9), pages 1454-1462, May.
    3. Xindong Xue & W. Robert Reed, 2015. "The Relationship Between Social Capital And Health In China," Working Papers in Economics 15/05, University of Canterbury, Department of Economics and Finance.
    4. Xue, Xindong & Mo, Erxiao & Reed, W. Robert, 2016. "The relationship between social capital and self-reported health in China," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), vol. 10, pages 1-44.
    5. De Silva, Mary J. & Huttly, Sharon R. & Harpham, Trudy & Kenward, Michael G., 2007. "Social capital and mental health: A comparative analysis of four low income countries," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 5-20, January.
    6. Fujisawa, Yoshikazu & Hamano, Tsuyoshi & Takegawa, Shogo, 2009. "Social capital and perceived health in Japan: An ecological and multilevel analysis," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 69(4), pages 500-505, August.
    7. Christian Deindl & Martina Brandt & Karsten Hank, 2016. "Social Networks, Social Cohesion, and Later-Life Health," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 126(3), pages 1175-1187, April.
    8. Markku Hyyppä & Juhani Mäki & Erkki Alanen & Olli Impivaara & Arpo Aromaa, 2008. "Long-term Stability of Social Participation," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 88(2), pages 389-396, September.
    9. Habibov, Nazim N. & Afandi, Elvin N., 2011. "Self-rated health and social capital in transitional countries: Multilevel analysis of comparative surveys in Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 72(7), pages 1193-1204, April.
    10. Favara,Marta, 2012. "United we stand divided we fall : maternal social participation and children's nutritional status in Peru," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6264, The World Bank.
    11. Oksanen, Tuula & Kouvonen, Anne & Kivimäki, Mika & Pentti, Jaana & Virtanen, Marianna & Linna, Anne & Vahtera, Jussi, 2008. "Social capital at work as a predictor of employee health: Multilevel evidence from work units in Finland," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 66(3), pages 637-649, February.
    12. Yamaoka, Kazue, 2008. "Social capital and health and well-being in East Asia: A population-based study," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 66(4), pages 885-899, February.
    13. Stephens, Christine, 2008. "Social capital in its place: Using social theory to understand social capital and inequalities in health," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 66(5), pages 1174-1184, March.
    14. Bassett, Emma & Moore, Spencer, 2013. "Social capital and depressive symptoms: The association of psychosocial and network dimensions of social capital with depressive symptoms in Montreal, Canada," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 96-102.
    15. Wang, Hongmei & Schlesinger, Mark & Wang, Hong & Hsiao, William C., 2009. "The flip-side of social capital: The distinctive influences of trust and mistrust on health in rural China," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 133-142, January.
    16. repec:spr:soinre:v:134:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s11205-016-1411-5 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Nakhaie, Reza & Arnold, Robert, 2010. "A four year (1996-2000) analysis of social capital and health status of Canadians: The difference that love makes," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 71(5), pages 1037-1044, September.
    18. Maria Felice Arezzo & Cristina Giudici, 2017. "Social Capital and Self Perceived Health Among European Older Adults," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 130(2), pages 665-685, January.
    19. Baron-Epel, Orna & Weinstein, Ruth & Haviv-Mesika, Amalia & Garty-Sandalon, Noga & Green, Manfred S., 2008. "Individual-level analysis of social capital and health: A comparison of Arab and Jewish Israelis," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 66(4), pages 900-910, February.
    20. 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.
    21. Han, Sehee, 2013. "Compositional and contextual associations of social capital and self-rated health in Seoul, South Korea: A multilevel analysis of longitudinal evidence," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 113-120.
    22. Poortinga, Wouter, 2006. "Social relations or social capital? Individual and community health effects of bonding social capital," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 255-270, July.
    23. Poortinga, Wouter, 2006. "Social capital: An individual or collective resource for health?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 292-302, January.

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