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Individual-level analysis of social capital and health: A comparison of Arab and Jewish Israelis

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  • Baron-Epel, Orna
  • Weinstein, Ruth
  • Haviv-Mesika, Amalia
  • Garty-Sandalon, Noga
  • Green, Manfred S.

Abstract

Discrepancies exist in existing research regarding the association between social capital and self-rated health, most of which has been undertaken in the developed world. The aim of this study is first to assess the levels of the various variables describing individual social capital in Jews and Arab residing in Israel, and second to assess the association between individual social capital and self-rated health in these two population groups. The data were obtained from an Israeli health interview survey (knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP)) conducted during 2004-2005, which is based on 3365 interviews with adult Jews and 985 adult Arabs. Social capital measures included social trust, neighborhood safety, perceived helpfulness, trust in local and national authorities and social support. Data were also obtained on self-rated health and socioeconomic and demographic variables. Multivariate logistic regression revealed that Jews reported higher levels of social trust, perceived helpfulness, trust in authorities, and social support compared to Arabs, after adjusting for demographic and socioeconomic variables. Social contacts, however, were reported more frequently in the Arab population. Neighborhood safety was similar in the two population groups. Among Jews, those reporting higher levels of individual social capital reported better self-rated health after adjusting for demographic and socioeconomic variables. Among Arabs, only those reporting higher levels of social support reported better self-rated health. In Israel, individual levels of social capital seem to be lower in the Arab minority than in the Jewish majority. Individual social capital was associated with better self-rated health mainly in the Jewish population and less so in the Arab population. Social capital factors may be associated with health to a higher extent in affluent populations with relatively high social capital and less so in low social capital and more traditional communities. More research is needed to verify these differences.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:66:y:2008:i:4:p:900-910
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Eiji Yamamura, 2011. "Differences in the effect of social capital on health status between workers and non-workers," International Review of Economics, Springer;Happiness Economics and Interpersonal Relations (HEIRS), vol. 58(4), pages 385-400, December.
    2. Fiorillo, Damiano & Sabatini, Fabio, 2015. "Structural social capital and health in Italy," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, pages 129-142.
    3. Fiorillo, Damiano & Sabatini, Fabio, 2011. "Quality and quantity: the role of social interactions in individual health," AICCON Working Papers 84-2011, Associazione Italiana per la Cultura della Cooperazione e del Non Profit.
    4. Fiorillo, Damiano & Sabatini, Fabio, 2011. "Quality and quantity: The role of social interactions in self-reported individual health," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, pages 1644-1652.
    5. Sabatini, Fabio, 2014. "The relationship between happiness and health: Evidence from Italy," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, pages 178-187.
    6. 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.
    7. Nazim Habibov & Elvin Afandi, 2016. "Does Life Satisfaction Determine Subjective Health?," Applied Research in Quality of Life, Springer;International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies, vol. 11(2), pages 413-428, June.

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