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The mechanisms that associate community social capital with post-disaster mental health: A multilevel model

  • Wind, Tim R.
  • Komproe, Ivan H.
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    Many scholars have advocated that the time has come to provide empirical evidence of the mechanisms that associate community social capital with individual disaster mental health. For this purpose we conducted a study (n = 232) one year after a flood (2008) in Morpeth, a rural town in northern England. We selected posttraumatic stress as an indicator of disaster mental health. Our multilevel model shows that high community social capital is indirectly salutary for individual posttraumatic stress. In particular, in communities (defined as postcode areas) with high structural social capital, the results suggest that individuals confide in the social context (high cognitive social capital) to address disaster-related demands (high collective efficacy), and employ less individual psychosocial resources (i.e. coping strategies and social support). This “conservation of individual psychosocial resources” in a salutary social context decreases the association between the appraisal of the disaster and posttraumatic stress. As a result of this mechanism, individuals suffer less from posttraumatic stress in communities with high social capital. These findings provide new insights how intervention policies aimed at strengthening both objective and subjective dimensions of social capital may reduce post-disaster mental health.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0277953612005448
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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Social Science & Medicine.

    Volume (Year): 75 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 9 ()
    Pages: 1715-1720

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:75:y:2012:i:9:p:1715-1720
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    1. Berry, Helen Louise & Welsh, Jennifer A., 2010. "Social capital and health in Australia: An overview from the household, income and labour dynamics in Australia survey," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 70(4), pages 588-596, February.
    2. Wang, Hongmei & Schlesinger, Mark & Wang, Hong & Hsiao, William C., 2009. "The flip-side of social capital: The distinctive influences of trust and mistrust on health in rural China," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 133-142, January.
    3. Suzuki, Etsuji & Takao, Soshi & Subramanian, S.V. & Komatsu, Hirokazu & Doi, Hiroyuki & Kawachi, Ichiro, 2010. "Does low workplace social capital have detrimental effect on workers' health?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 70(9), pages 1367-1372, May.
    4. 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.
    5. De Silva, Mary J. & Huttly, Sharon R. & Harpham, Trudy & Kenward, Michael G., 2007. "Social capital and mental health: A comparative analysis of four low income countries," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 5-20, January.
    6. Almedom, Astier M., 2005. "Social capital and mental health: An interdisciplinary review of primary evidence," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 61(5), pages 943-964, September.
    7. Nakhaie, Reza & Arnold, Robert, 2010. "A four year (1996-2000) analysis of social capital and health status of Canadians: The difference that love makes," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 71(5), pages 1037-1044, September.
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