Association of neighbourhood and individual social capital, neighourhood economic deprivation and self-rated health in South Africa - a multi-level analysis

Chola, Lumbwe ; Alaba, Olufunke (2013-07-29)

CITATION: Chola, L. & Alaba, O. 2013. Association of neighbourhood and individual social capital, neighourhood economic deprivation and self-rated health in South Africa - a multi-level analysis. PLoS ONE, E 8(7): e71085, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0071085.

The original publication is available at http://journals.plos.org/plosone

Article

Introduction: Social capital is said to influence health, mostly in research undertaken in high income countries' settings. Because social capital may differ from one setting to another, it is suggested that its measurement be context specific. We examine the association of individual and neighbourhood level social capital, and neighbourhood deprivation to self-rated health using a multi-level analysis. Methods: Data are taken from the 2008 South Africa National Income Dynamic Survey. Health was self-reported on a scale from 1 (excellent) to 5 (poor). Two measures of social capital were used: individual, measured by two variables denoting trust and civic participation; and neighbourhood social capital, denoting support, association, behaviour and safety in a community. Results: Compared to males, females were less likely to report good health (Odds Ratio 0.82: Confidence Interval 0.73, 0.91). There were variations in association of individual social capital and self-rated health among the provinces. In Western Cape (1.37: 0.98, 1.91) and North West (1.39: 1.13, 1.71), trust was positively associated with reporting good health, while the reverse was true in Limpopo (0.56: 0.38, 0.84) and Free State (0.70: 0.48, 1.02). In Western Cape (0.60: 0.44, 0.82) and Mpumalanga (0.72: 0.55, 0.94), neighbourhood social capital was negatively associated with reporting good health. In North West (1.59: 1.27, 1.99) and Gauteng (1.90: 1.21, 2.97), increased neighbourhood social capital was positively associated with reporting good health. Conclusion: Our study demonstrated the importance of considering contextual factors when analysing the relationship between social capital and health. Analysis by province showed variations in the way in which social capital affected health in different contexts. Further studies should be undertaken to understand the mechanisms through which social capital impacts on health in South Africa.

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