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Journal Article

Social participation and self-rated psychological health: a longitudinal study on BHPS


Publication date

Dec 2017


Although social capital has been hypothesized to have positive influence on psychological health, a relationship between social capital dimensions and psychological wellbeing has rarely been found. This longitudinal study investigates the relationship between social participation in associations and self-rated psychological health. The paper uses five waves of the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS) from 1991 to 1995 (unbalanced panel N=45,761). Ordered logit fixed effect methods were used to study the longitudinal link between structural social capital (being a member, active, and both a member and active in associations) and self-rated psychological health assessed by single items of the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12) controlling for age, marital status, household size, number of children, education, income, economic status, number of visits to the GP and health problems. The paper shows that being only a member and only active in associations has no statistical relationship with almost all the items of the GHQ-12. Instead, being both a member and active in associations is linked to all “positive” items of self-rated psychological health and to two main “negative” items of psychological wellbeing. These findings highlight the protective role of being both a member and active in associations against poor psychological health outcomes.

Published in

SSM - Population Health

Volume and page numbers

3 , 266 -274





Psychology, Well Being, Social Capital, Health, and Social Behaviour


Open Access; Under a Creative Commons license; © 2017 The Authors


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