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

Publication type

Journal Article


Publication date

December 15, 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

Volume: 3 , p.266 -274






Open Access

Under a Creative Commons license

© 2017 The Authors



Latest findings, new research

Publications search

Search all research by subject and author


Researchers discuss their findings and what they mean for society


Background and context, methods and data, aims and outputs


Conferences, seminars and workshops

Survey methodology

Specialist research, practice and study

Taking the long view

ISER's annual report


Key research themes and areas of interest