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Conference Paper BHPS-2009 Conference: the 2009 British Household Panel Survey Research Conference, 9-11 July 2009, Colchester, UK

A multilevel analysis of social capital and self-rated health: evidence from the British Household Panel Survey


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Social capital is often described as a collective benefit engendered by generalised trust,
civic participation, and mutual reciprocity. This feature of communities has been
shown to associate with an assortment of health outcomes at several levels of analysis.
The current study assesses the evidence for an association between area-level social
capital and individual-level subjective health. Respondents participating in waves 8
(1998) and 9 (1999) of the British Household Panel Survey were identified and
followed-up five years later in wave 13 (2003). Area social capital was measured by
two aggregated survey items: social trust and civic participation. Multilevel logistic
regression models were fitted to examine the association between area social capital
indicators and individual poor self-rated health. Evidence for a protective association
was found for area social trust (OR=0.81, 95% CI:0.68-0.96) after controlling for
individual characteristics, baseline self-rated health, and individual social trust. There
was no evidence for an association between area civic participation and self-rated health
after adjustment. The findings of this study expand the literature on social capital and
health through the use of longitudinal data and multilevel modelling techniques.


Social Capital and Health



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