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Social capital and self-rated health in Colombia: The good, the bad and the ugly


  • Hurtado, David
  • Kawachi, Ichiro
  • Sudarsky, John


Although there is increasing evidence supporting the associations between social capital and health, less is known of potential effects in Latin American countries. Our objective was to examine associations of different components of social capital with self-rated health in Colombia. The study had a cross-sectional design, using data of a survey applied to a nationally representative sample of 3025 respondents, conducted in 2004-2005. Stratified random sampling was performed, based on town size, urban/rural origin, age, and sex. Examined indicators of social capital were interpersonal trust, reciprocity, associational membership, non-electoral political participation, civic activities and volunteering. Principal components analysis including different indicators of social capital distinguished three components: structural-formal (associational membership and non-electoral political participation), structural-informal (civic activities and volunteering) and cognitive (interpersonal trust and reciprocity). Multilevel analyses showed no significant variations of self-rated health at the regional level. After adjusting for sociodemographic covariates, interpersonal trust was statistically significantly associated with lower odds of poor/fair health, as well as the cognitive social capital component. Members of farmers/agricultural or gender-related groups had higher odds of poor/fair health, respectively. Excluding these groups, however, associational membership was associated with lower odds of poor/fair health. Likewise, in Colombians with educational attainment higher than high school, reciprocity was associated with lower odds of fair/poor health. Nevertheless, among rural respondents non-electoral political participation was associated with worse health. In conclusion, cognitive social capital and associational membership were related to better health, and could represent important notions for health promotion. Human rights violations related to political violence and gender based discrimination may explain adverse associations with health.

Suggested Citation

  • Hurtado, David & Kawachi, Ichiro & Sudarsky, John, 2011. "Social capital and self-rated health in Colombia: The good, the bad and the ugly," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 72(4), pages 584-590, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:72:y:2011:i:4:p:584-590

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Riumallo-Herl, Carlos Javier & Kawachi, Ichiro & Avendano, Mauricio, 2014. "Social capital, mental health and biomarkers in Chile: Assessing the effects of social capital in a middle-income country," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 47-58.
    2. 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.
    3. Damiano, Fiorillo & Lubrano Lavadera, Giuseppe & Nappo, Nunzia, 2017. "Individual heterogeneity in the association between social participation and self-rated health. A panel study on BHPS," MPRA Paper 78933, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Bisung, Elijah & Elliott, Susan J. & Schuster-Wallace, Corinne J. & Karanja, Diana M. & Bernard, Abudho, 2014. "Social capital, collective action and access to water in rural Kenya," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 119(C), pages 147-154.
    5. repec:eee:socmed:v:187:y:2017:i:c:p:118-125 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Lorenzo Rocco & Elena Fumagalli & Marc Suhrcke, 2014. "From Social Capital To Health – And Back," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(5), pages 586-605, May.
    7. 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.
    8. Flores, Elaine C. & Carnero, Andres M. & Bayer, Angela M., 2014. "Social capital and chronic post-traumatic stress disorder among survivors of the 2007 earthquake in Pisco, Peru," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 9-17.
    9. Liu, Gordon G. & Xue, Xindong & Yu, Chenxi & Wang, Yafeng, 2016. "How does social capital matter to the health status of older adults? Evidence from the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Survey," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 22(C), pages 177-189.
    10. Agampodi, Thilini Chanchala & Agampodi, Suneth Buddhika & Glozier, Nicholas & Siribaddana, Sisira, 2015. "Measurement of social capital in relation to health in low and middle income countries (LMIC): A systematic review," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 128(C), pages 95-104.
    11. Smith, Nathan Daniel Lucia & Kawachi, Ichiro, 2014. "State-level social capital and suicide mortality in the 50 U.S. states," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 269-277.
    12. Perreira, Krista M. & Telles, Edward E., 2014. "The color of health: Skin color, ethnoracial classification, and discrimination in the health of Latin Americans," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 241-250.
    13. Zarychta, Alan, 2015. "Community trust and household health: A spatially-based approach with evidence from rural Honduras," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 146(C), pages 85-94.
    14. repec:gig:joupla:v:7:y:2015:i:1:p:3-44 is not listed on IDEAS


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