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Does community capacity influence self-rated health? Multilevel contextual effects in Seoul, Korea

  • Jung, Minsoo
  • Viswanath, K.
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    This study examined the relationship between community-level contextual effects and self-rated health (SRH) based on the perspective of community capacity rather than social capital. Community capacity for mobilization is broad cooperation for networking among indigenous social agents and grassroots organizations that may serve as potential resources. The idea of community capacity is rooted in the philosophy that a community not only faces problems but also possesses the necessary resources to solve its problems. We used nationally representative data from South Korea, 2010, drawing on 14,228 residents in 404 communities. Community capacity was measured at two levels: an individual-level indicator of community satisfaction, and community-level indicators of participation rate in community organizations, number of community-based organizations (CBOs), and number of volunteer work camps (VWCs). The outcome variable was SRH, which was categorized into two groups: the low-SRH and high-SRH groups. Confounders included gender, age, and income at the individual level, and aggregate length of residency, financial independence ratio, and aggregate income at the community level. We estimated the effects of community capacity on SRH using hierarchical generalized linear models. The likelihood of belonging to the group having low-SRH is significantly high among those respondents living in places with lower community capacity at the community level, that report lower community satisfaction, and that have lower income at the individual level. After controlling for socio-economic confounders, the odds ratios were attenuated but remained significant in the final model, which included the gender-specific model. This study revealed that SRH is related to the level of community capacity for mobilization. It is probably because CBOs and VWCs not only provide necessary information and complementary services but also play an active role in identifying and resolving health problems therein. Thus, community capacity building warrants serious consideration for a community-based health promotion.

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

    Volume (Year): 77 (2013)
    Issue (Month): C ()
    Pages: 60-69

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:77:y:2013:i:c:p:60-69
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