IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

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


  • Wind, Tim R.
  • Komproe, Ivan H.


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.

Suggested Citation

  • Wind, Tim R. & Komproe, Ivan H., 2012. "The mechanisms that associate community social capital with post-disaster mental health: A multilevel model," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 75(9), pages 1715-1720.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:75:y:2012:i:9:p:1715-1720
    DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2012.06.032

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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.
    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. 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.
    4. 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.
    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. 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.
    7. 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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Lowe, Sarah R. & Joshi, Spruha & Pietrzak, Robert H. & Galea, Sandro & Cerdá, Magdalena, 2015. "Mental health and general wellness in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 124(C), pages 162-170.
    2. Rung, Ariane L. & Gaston, Symielle & Robinson, William T. & Trapido, Edward J. & Peters, Edward S., 2017. "Untangling the disaster-depression knot: The role of social ties after Deepwater Horizon," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 177(C), pages 19-26.
    3. repec:eee:socmed:v:193:y:2017:i:c:p:33-40 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Hogg, Daniel & Kingham, Simon & Wilson, Thomas M. & Ardagh, Michael, 2016. "The effects of relocation and level of affectedness on mood and anxiety symptom treatments after the 2011 Christchurch earthquake," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 152(C), pages 18-26.
    5. repec:eee:socmed:v:196:y:2018:i:c:p:240-245 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. 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.
    7. Verduin, Femke & Smid, Geert E. & Wind, Tim R. & Scholte, Willem F., 2014. "In search of links between social capital, mental health and sociotherapy: A longitudinal study in Rwanda," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 121(C), pages 1-9.
    8. Matsuyama, Yusuke & Aida, Jun & Hase, Akihiro & Sato, Yukihiro & Koyama, Shihoko & Tsuboya, Toru & Osaka, Ken, 2016. "Do community- and individual-level social relationships contribute to the mental health of disaster survivors?: A multilevel prospective study after the Great East Japan Earthquake," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 151(C), pages 187-195.
    9. repec:eee:socmed:v:194:y:2017:i:c:p:105-127 is not listed on IDEAS


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:75:y:2012:i:9:p:1715-1720. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.