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What constitutes a health-enabling neighborhood? A grounded theory situational analysis addressing the significance of social capital and gender.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Global Health.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0108-4237
Lunds universitet.
2013 (English)In: Social Science and Medicine, ISSN 0277-9536, E-ISSN 1873-5347, Vol. 97, 112-123 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Variations in health between neighborhoods are well known and the conceptualization of social capitalhas contributed to an understanding of how contextual factors influence these differences. Studies showpositive health-effects from living in high social capital areas, at least for some population sub-groups.The aim of this qualitative study was to understand what constitutes a ‘health-enabling’ neighborhood.It follows up results from a social capital survey in northern Sweden indicating that the healtheffects of living in a high social capital neighborhood is gendered in favor of women. A grounded theorysituational analysis of eight focus group discussions e four with men and four with women e illustratedsimilar and different positions on how neighborhood characteristics influence health. A neighborhood,where people say hi to each other (“hi-factor”) and where support between neighbors exist, were factorsperceived as positive for health by all, as was a good location, neighborhood greenness and proximity toessential arenas. Women perceived freedom from demands, feeling safe and city life as additional healthenabling factors. For men freedom to do what you want, a sense of belonging, and countryside life wereimportant. To have burdensome neighbors, physical disturbances and a densely living environment wereperceived as negative for health in both groups while demands for a well styled home and feeling unsafewere perceived as negative for health among women. Neighborhood social capital, together with otherelements in the living environment, has fundamental influence on people’s perceived health. Ourfindings do not confirm that social capital is more important for women than for men but that distinctiveform of social capital differ in impact. Investing in physical interventions, such as planning for meetingplaces, constructing attractive green areas, and making neighborhoods walking-friendly, may increasehuman interactions that is instrumental for social capital and is likely to have health promoting effectsfor all.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2013. Vol. 97, 112-123 p.
Keyword [en]
Northern Sweden, Health-enabling environments, Social capital, Gender, Grounded theory, Situational analysis
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-81345DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2013.08.008ISI: 000327911100015OAI: diva2:654001
Swedish Research Council, 2009-4322Forte, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare, 2006-1512
Available from: 2013-10-07 Created: 2013-10-07 Last updated: 2016-06-29Bibliographically approved

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