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Contextual effect of different components of social capital on health in a suburban city of the greater Tokyo area: A multilevel analysis

Listed author(s):
  • Murayama, Hiroshi
  • Wakui, Tomoko
  • Arami, Reiko
  • Sugawara, Ikuko
  • Yoshie, Satoru
Registered author(s):

    Social capital (SC) can be broken down into a number of aspects and dimensions, but few studies have differentiated between the effects of different components of SC on health. This study examined the relationship between contextual SC and health (self-rated health, and co-occurrence of lifestyle risk factors such as smoking, drinking, overweight/underweight and physical inactivity) among the general population in a Japanese suburban area. The specific research question was to explore which components of contextual SC had what effects on health. In 2009, we randomly selected 4123 residents, aged 20 years and over, from 72 districts in the city of Kashiwa, Chiba prefecture (a typical suburban city of Tokyo) to participate in a cross-sectional survey using mailed questionnaires. We used four indicators of SC: cognitive/horizontal (trust in neighbors), cognitive/vertical (institutional trust in the national social security system), structural/horizontal (participation in groups with egalitarian relationships) and structural/vertical (participation in groups with hierarchical relationships). District-level SC was calculated by aggregating the individual responses of each SC indicator within each district. The response rate was 42.1% (1716 questionnaires), 43.7% of the respondents were male, and the mean age was 54.8 ± 16.4 (ranging from 20 to 97). A multilevel analysis showed that higher district-level institutional mistrust was associated with self-rated poor health, but higher district-level mistrust in neighbors was inversely associated with it, after adjusting for individual-level covariates. There was no contextual effect of any SC components on co-occurrence of risk factors. Our findings showed that institutional trust has a beneficial effect on self-rated health, but trust among neighbors might negatively affect the health of the residents in a Japanese suburban city. These unique findings could suggest the advantage of breaking down SC to examine more specific relationships between SC and health, and the importance of accumulating the evidence in specific cohorts to develop customized health promotion strategies.

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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Social Science & Medicine.

    Volume (Year): 75 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 12 ()
    Pages: 2472-2480

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:75:y:2012:i:12:p:2472-2480
    DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2012.09.027
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    1. Chuang, Ying-Chih & Chuang, Kun-Yang, 2008. "Gender differences in relationships between social capital and individual smoking and drinking behavior in Taiwan," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 67(8), pages 1321-1330, October.
    2. Engström, Karin & Mattsson, Fredrik & Järleborg, Anders & Hallqvist, Johan, 2008. "Contextual social capital as a risk factor for poor self-rated health: A multilevel analysis," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 66(11), pages 2268-2280, June.
    3. Harpham, Trudy & Grant, Emma & Rodriguez, Carlos, 2004. "Mental health and social capital in Cali, Colombia," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 58(11), pages 2267-2277, June.
    4. Aida, Jun & Hanibuchi, Tomoya & Nakade, Miyo & Hirai, Hiroshi & Osaka, Ken & Kondo, Katsunori, 2009. "The different effects of vertical social capital and horizontal social capital on dental status: A multilevel analysis," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 69(4), pages 512-518, August.
    5. Oakes, J. Michael, 2004. "The (mis)estimation of neighborhood effects: causal inference for a practicable social epidemiology," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 58(10), pages 1929-1952, May.
    6. Blomgren, Jenni & Martikainen, Pekka & Mäkelä, Pia & Valkonen, Tapani, 2004. "The effects of regional characteristics on alcohol-related mortality--a register-based multilevel analysis of 1.1 million men," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 58(12), pages 2523-2535, June.
    7. Snelgrove, John W. & Pikhart, Hynek & Stafford, Mai, 2009. "A multilevel analysis of social capital and self-rated health: Evidence from the British Household Panel Survey," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 68(11), pages 1993-2001, June.
    8. Kim, Daniel & Subramanian, S.V. & Gortmaker, Steven L. & Kawachi, Ichiro, 2006. "US state- and county-level social capital in relation to obesity and physical inactivity: A multilevel, multivariable analysis," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 63(4), pages 1045-1059, August.
    9. Ichida, Yukinobu & Kondo, Katsunori & Hirai, Hiroshi & Hanibuchi, Tomoya & Yoshikawa, Goshu & Murata, Chiyoe, 2009. "Social capital, income inequality and self-rated health in Chita peninsula, Japan: a multilevel analysis of older people in 25 communities," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 69(4), pages 489-499, August.
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