Psychosocial resources and social health inequalities in France: Exploratory findings from a general population survey
We study the psychosocial determinants of health, and their impact on social inequalities in health in France. We use a unique general population survey to assess the respective impact on selfassessed health status of subjective perceptions of social capital controlling for standard socio-demographic factors (occupation, income, education, age and gender). The survey is unique for two reasons: First, we use a variety of measures to describe self-perceived social capital (trust and civic engagement, social support, sense of control, and selfesteem). Second, we can link these measures of social capital to a wealth of descriptors of health status and behaviours. We find empirical support for the link between the subjective perception of social capital and health. Sense of control at work is the most important determinant of health status. Other important ones are civic engagement and social support. To a lesser extent, sense of being lower in the social hierarchy is associated with poorer health status. On the contrary, relative deprivation does not affect health in our survey. Since access to social capital is not equally distributed in the population, these findings suggest that psychosocial factors can explain a substantial part of social inequalities in health in France.
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