Mohan, John, Barnard, Steve, Jones, Kelvyn and Twigg, Liz
Social capital, geography and health: developing and applying small-area indicators of social capital in the geography of health inequalities
Morgan, Antony and Swann, Catherine (eds.)
Social capital for health: issues of definition, measurement and links to health.
Health Development Agency
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Social capital is often thought of, explicitly or implicitly,as a property of the places in which people live. Consequently, variations in levels of social capital have been used to produce statistical explanations of variations in health outcomes. We draw attention to problems which arise in seeking such explanations, relating in particular to the production of measures of social capital for small areas, and to the difficulties associated with aggregate analyses. Then we evaluate methods for producing small-area indicators of social capital. We review direct measures, such as voter turnout and blood donation, before outlining an alternative, which we term ‘synthetic estimation’. Finally we present a summary of the results from our modelling of the influence of geographical variations in social capital on health outcomes. We found that our area-level measures of social capital did not make an additional contribution to explanations of health outcomes over and above that made by established indicators of material circumstances.
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