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Quality and quantity: The role of social interactions in self-reported individual health

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  • Fiorillo, Damiano
  • Sabatini, Fabio

Abstract

The public health literature on the detrimental effects of social isolation has shown that the quantity of social connections is positively correlated with individual health. Drawing on pooled cross-sectional data, we test this hypothesis on a representative sample of the Italian population. Our findings show that, in addition to the quantity of interactions, it is their quality – as measured by subjective satisfaction derived from relationships with friends – that works as the best predictor of self-reported health. The frequency of meetings with friends is significantly and positively correlated with good health in all regressions. However, when we add our measure of the quality of relationships to the probit equations, the statistical significance of “quantitative” measures is scaled down. Satisfaction with relationships with friends exhibits a positive and highly significant coefficient. Results of the multivariate probit analysis point out the potential role of unobservable variables suggesting the existence of endogeneity problems which require further investigation.

Suggested Citation

  • Fiorillo, Damiano & Sabatini, Fabio, 2011. "Quality and quantity: The role of social interactions in self-reported individual health," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 73(11), pages 1644-1652.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:73:y:2011:i:11:p:1644-1652 DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2011.09.007
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    Cited by:

    1. Fiorillo, Damiano, 2013. "Friends and health of the workers in Italy," MPRA Paper 44270, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Fiorillo, Damiano & Sabatini, Fabio, 2015. "Structural social capital and health in Italy," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, pages 129-142.
    3. Ljunge, Martin, 2014. "Social capital and health: Evidence that ancestral trust promotes health among children of immigrants," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 15(C), pages 165-186.
    4. Damiano Fiorillo & Nunzia Nappo, 2017. "Formal volunteering and self-perceived health. Causal evidence from the UK-SILC," Review of Social Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 75(2), pages 112-138, April.
    5. Damiano Fiorillo, 2016. "Workers’ health and social relations in Italy," Journal of Economic Studies, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 43(5), pages 835-862, October.
    6. Giacomo Degli Antoni & Fabio Sabatini, 2017. "Social cooperatives, social welfare associations and social networks," Review of Social Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 75(2), pages 212-230, April.
    7. Francesca Modena & Concetta Rondinelli & Fabio Sabatini, 2014. "Economic Insecurity and Fertility Intentions: The Case of Italy," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 60(S1), pages 233-255, May.
    8. Alessandro Bucciol & Simona Cicognani & Luca Zarri, 2017. "The Social Status-Enhancing Power of Social Ties," Working Papers 04/2017, University of Verona, Department of Economics.
    9. Fiorillo, Damiano & Nappo, Nunzia, 2014. "Volunteering and perceived health. A European cross-countries investigation," MPRA Paper 72313, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 2016.
    10. Giacomo Degli Antoni & Fabio Sabatini, 2013. "Disentangling the relationship between nonprofit and social capital: The role of social cooperatives and social welfare associations in the development of networks of strong and weak ties," Euricse Working Papers 1354, Euricse (European Research Institute on Cooperative and Social Enterprises).
    11. 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.
    12. Fiorillo, Damiano, 2017. "Reasons for unmet needs for health care: the role of social capital and social support in some Western EU countries," MPRA Paper 82680, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    13. Ateca Amestoy, Victoria María & Cortés Aguilar, Alexandra & Moro-Egido, Ana I., 2011. "Social Interactions and Subjective Well-Being: Evidence from Latin America," DFAEII Working Papers 2011-05, University of the Basque Country - Department of Foundations of Economic Analysis II.
    14. Fiorillo, Damiano & Nappo, Nunzia, 2014. "Formal and informal volunteering and health across European countries," MPRA Paper 60210, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    15. Victoria Ateca-Amestoy & Alexandra Aguilar & Ana Moro-Egido, 2014. "Social Interactions and Life Satisfaction: Evidence from Latin America," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 15(3), pages 527-554, June.
    16. Llinares Millán, Carmen & Garzon, Dolores & Navarro, Susana, 2016. "C2C interactions creating value in the Route of Santiago," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 69(11), pages 5448-5455.
    17. Sabatini, Fabio, 2014. "The relationship between happiness and health: Evidence from Italy," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, pages 178-187.
    18. Fiorillo, Damiano & Lubrano Lavadera, Giuseppe & Nappo, Nunzia, 2016. "Social participation and self-rated psychological health," MPRA Paper 72879, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    19. 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.
    20. Joachim Gerich, 2014. "Effects of Social Networks on Health from a Stress Theoretical Perspective," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 118(1), pages 349-364, August.
    21. Alessandro Bucciol & Simona Cicognani & Luca Zarri, 2017. "The Status-Enhancing Power of Sociability," Working Paper series 17-15, Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis.

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