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Social capital and its relationship with preference-based measures of health status

Dates: 2005-2007
Funding: Department of Health
Collaborators: National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit, Oxford
Information: Stavros Petrou

Social capital is a concept that attempts to describe the quantity and quality of social interactions in a community.

This study explores the relationship between individual measures of social capital and alternative measures of health status within the context of a large national survey of population health. Using data for 13,753 adult participants in the 2003 Health Survey for England, linear regression with weighted least squares estimation and Tobit regression with upper censoring were used to model the relationship between individual measures of social capital and EQ-5D utility scores. In addition, logistic regression was used to model the relationship between individual measures of social capital and a dichotomous self-reported health status variable.

The study demonstrated that low stocks of social capital across the domains of trust and reciprocity, perceived social support and civic participation are significantly associated with poor measures of health status. If further research in this area clearly establishes a causal link between social capital and health, new initiatives aimed at community cohesion and the development of social capital, such as the initiatives already being promoted by health and local authorities in the United Kingdom, might enter more forcefully on to the political agenda.

Publications

Petrou S, Kupek E (2008). Social capital and its relationship with measures of health status: Evidence from the Health Survey for England 2003. Health Economics 2008; 17(1): 127-143.