Social Capital and Types of Illness: Where Is It Most Effective

M. Kamrul Islam, Sherman Folland and Oddvar Martin Kaarbøe provide empirical support to the common belief that social capital helps people avoid stress related maladies.

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M. Kamrul Islam[1], Sherman Folland[2], and Oddvar Martin Kaarbøe[3]

This chapter tests the predictive effects of social capital variables and other covariates on the likelihood that people reported having experienced one of several diseases or maladies. There are nearly 20 diseases which differ by the degree of stress involvement as identified the authors, with the assistance of professional medical advice. Two samples were compared. The Bureau of Labor Statistics data panel from the U.S. containing 12686 sample individuals reported from 1979 to 2000. And a Norwegian sample which contained 51000 individuals. The study finds that the benefits of living in communities with social capital were mainly for disorders with anxieties and psychiatric problems, with benefits also for asthma and sleep disorders.

The strongest in these data occur for psychology problems, mental health, nervous disorders, depression, and anxiety. Though smaller in strength is also indicated for high pressure, stigma disorder, and asthma. A county social capital measure was similarly consistent in its effects in the Norwegian sample.

This chapter in Elgar’s Companion to Social Capital and Health provides empirical support to the common belief that social capital helps people avoid stress related maladies. The chapter also contributes to the limits of identifying the single element contributing to the causes of these benefits for a variety of these benefits.

[1] M. Kamrul Islam, Senior Researcher at the Rokken Center and the Department of Economics, University of Bergen, Norway.

[2] Sherman Folland, Emeritus Professor, Department of Economics, Oakland University, Michigan, USA.

[3] Oddvar Martin Kaarbøe, Professor of Health Economics, Department of Management and Health Economics (HELED), University of Oslo, Norway.

Elgar Companion to Social Capital and Health edited by Sherman Folland and Eric Nauenberg is out now.

Read chapter one free on Elgaronline

Also on ElgarBlog:

Social Capital and Health Inequalities in Developing Countries: A Case Study for Indonesia by Florence Jusot and Marta Menéndez. Read the chapter Social capital and health inequalities in developing countries: a case study for Indonesia

Social Capital and Health Interventions: Enhancing Social Capital to Improve Health by Jean Guo, Setti Raïs Ali, and Lise Rochaix. Read the chapter Social capital and health interventions: enhancing social capital to improve health

History of Social Capital and Health by M. Kamrul Islam. Read M. Kamrul Islam’s chapter History of social capital and health

Social Capital and Economic Growth by Soumyananda Dinda. Read Soumyananda Dinda’s chapter Social capital and economic growth

Social Capital in Epidemiology by Martin Lindström. Read Martin Lindström’s chapter Social capital in epidemiology

Why Trust is Good for your Health by Martin Ljunge. Read Martin Ljunge’s chapter Trust promotes health: addressing reverse causality by studying children of immigrants 

The Importance of being Social –Sherman Folland investigates the influential role social capital plays in mental health and physical wellbeing.

Religious Capital, Social Capital and Health Ephraim Shapiro and Chen Sharony explore the link between religion and health

Does Health Affect Social Capital Hope Corman, Kelly Noonan, and Nancy E. Reichman examine the relationship between health and social capital.

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