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Social capital, gender and educational level: impact on self-rated health
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Global Health.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0108-4237
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Global Health. (Arcum)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1773-6896
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Global Health.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3025-2690
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2010 (English)In: The Open Public Health Journal, ISSN 1874-9445, Vol. 3, 1-12 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Objectives: Social capital has been recognized as one important social determinant for health, but we still have limited knowledge about how it can be used to explain inequality in health. This study investigated the links between individual social capital and self-rated health by gender and educational level, and analyzed if access to social capital might explain the observed disparities in self-rated health between men and women and different educational groups. Study design: A cross-sectional survey in Northern Sweden. Methods: A social capital questionnaire was constructed and mailed to 15 000 randomly selected individuals. Different forms of structural and cognitive social capital were measured. Self-rated health was used as the outcome measure. Crude and adjusted OR and 95% CI were calculated for good selfrated health and access to each form of social capital. Multivariate regression was used to analyze how sociodemographic factors and access to social capital might influence differences in self-rated health by gender and educational level. Results: Access to almost each form of social capital significantly increased the odds for good self-rated health for all groups. A higher education significantly increased the odds for access to each form of social capital, and being a man significantly increased the odds for having access to some forms of social capital. The health advantage for higher educated and men partly decreased when controlling for access to social capital. Conclusions: Access to social capital can partly explain the observed health inequality between men and women and different educational groups. Strengthening social capital might be one way of tackling health inequality. It is important to consider the structural conditions that create unequal opportunities for different groups to access social capital.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Bentham Science Publishers , 2010. Vol. 3, 1-12 p.
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Research subject
Social Medicine
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-34195DOI: 10.2174/1874944501003010001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-34195DiVA: diva2:319794
Available from: 2010-05-19 Created: 2010-05-19 Last updated: 2016-10-04Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Social capital, health and community action: implications for health promotion
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Social capital, health and community action: implications for health promotion
2010 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Background; The overwhelming increase in studies about social capital and health occurring since 1995 indicates a renewed interest in the social determinants of health and a call for a more explicit use of theory in public health and epidemiology. The links between social capital and health are still not clear and the meanings of different forms of individual and collective social capital and their implications for health promotion needs further exploration. The overall aims of this thesis are to explore the relationship between social capital and health and to contribute to the theoretical framework of the role of social capital for health and health promotion.

Methods; Data from a social capital survey were used to investigate the associations between individual social capital and self-rated health for men and women and different educational groups. Survey data were also analyzed to determine the association between collective social capital and self-rated health for men and women. A qualitative case study in a small community with observed high levels of civic engagement formed the basis for exploring the role of social capital for community action. Data from the same study were utilized for a grounded theory situational analysis of the social mechanisms leading to social capital mobilization.

Main findings; Access to individual social capital increases the odds for good self-rated health equally for men and women and different educational groups. However, the likelihood of having access to social capital differs between groups. The results indicate a positive association between collective social capital and self-rated health for women but not for men. Results from the qualitative case study illustrate how social capital in local communities can facilitate collective actions for public good but may also increase social inequality. Mobilizing social capital in local communities requires identification of community issues that call for action, a fighting spirit from trusted local leaders, “know-how” from creative entrepreneurs, and broad legitimacy and support in the community.

Conclusions; This thesis supports the idea that individual social capital is health-enhancing and that strengthening individual social capital can be considered one important health promotion strategy. Collective social capital may have a positive effect on self-rated health for women but not for men and therefore mobilizing collective social capital might be more health-enhancing for women. Collective social capital may have indirect positive effects on health for all by facilitating the ability of communities to solve collective health problems. However, mobilizing social capital in local communities requires an awareness of the risk for increased social inequality.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå university, 2010. 105 p.
Series
Umeå University medical dissertations, ISSN 0346-6612 ; 1355
Keyword
social capital, self-rated health, health promotion, community action
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Research subject
Social Medicine
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-34198 (URN)978-91-7459-021-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2010-06-12, Betula, Norrlands Universitetssjukhus, Umeå, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2010-05-24 Created: 2010-05-20 Last updated: 2015-04-29Bibliographically approved

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