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Social capital and self-rated health – A study of temporal (causal) relationships

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  • Giordano, Giuseppe Nicola
  • Björk, Jonas
  • Lindström, Martin

Abstract

Despite the vast amount of research over the past fifteen years, there is still lively debate surrounding the role of social capital on individual health outcomes. This seems to stem from a lack of consistency regarding the definition, measurement and plausible theories linking this contextual phenomenon to health. We have further identified a knowledge gap within this field – a distinct lack of research investigating temporal relationships between social capital and health outcomes. To remedy this shortfall, we use four waves of the British Household Panel Survey to follow the same individuals (N = 8114) between years 2000 and 2007. We investigate temporal relationships and association between our outcome variable self-rated health (SRH) and time-lagged explanatory variables, including three individual-level social capital proxies and other well-known health determinants. Our results suggest that levels of the social capital proxy ‘generalised trust’ at time point (t − 1) are positively associated with SRH at subsequent time point (t), even after taking into consideration levels of other well-known health determinants (such as smoking status) at time point (t − 1). That we investigate temporal relationships at four separate occasions over the seven-year period lends considerable weight to our results and the argument that generalised trust is an independent predictor of individual health. However, lack of consensus across a variety of disciplines as to what generalised trust is believed to measure creates ambiguity when attempting to identify possible pathways from higher trust to better health.

Suggested Citation

  • Giordano, Giuseppe Nicola & Björk, Jonas & Lindström, Martin, 2012. "Social capital and self-rated health – A study of temporal (causal) relationships," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 340-348.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:75:y:2012:i:2:p:340-348
    DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2012.03.011
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. O'Doherty, M.G. & French, D. & Steptoe, A. & Kee, F., 2017. "Social capital, deprivation and self-rated health: Does reporting heterogeneity play a role? Results from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 179(C), pages 191-200.
    2. 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.
    3. Eriksson, Malin & Ng, Nawi, 2015. "Changes in access to structural social capital and its influence on self-rated health over time for middle-aged men and women: A longitudinal study from northern Sweden," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 130(C), pages 250-258.
    4. Muennig, Peter & Cohen, Alison K. & Palmer, Aileen & Zhu, Wenyi, 2013. "The relationship between five different measures of structural social capital, medical examination outcomes, and mortality," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 85(C), pages 18-26.
    5. Herian, Mitchel N. & Tay, Louis & Hamm, Joseph A. & Diener, Ed, 2014. "Social capital, ideology, and health in the United States," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 30-37.
    6. Jung, Minsoo & Viswanath, K., 2013. "Does community capacity influence self-rated health? Multilevel contextual effects in Seoul, Korea," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 60-69.
    7. Fiorillo, Damiano & Lubrano Lavadera, Giuseppe & Nappo, Nunzia, 2016. "Social participation and self-rated psychological health," MPRA Paper 72879, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. repec:eee:socmed:v:190:y:2017:i:c:p:48-56 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Lafferty, Lise & Treloar, Carla & Chambers, Georgina M. & Butler, Tony & Guthrie, Jill, 2016. "Contextualising the social capital of Australian Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal men in prison," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 167(C), pages 29-36.

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