The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

5148.0: Wednesday, November 19, 2003 - 2:30 PM

Abstract #59204

Measuring social capital in African American and Latino communities

Yvonne Michael, ScD1, Stephanie Farquhar, PhD2, Lawrence M. Wallack, DrPH2, and Noel Wiggins, MSPH3. (1) Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Oregon Health and Sciences University, 3181 SW Sam Jackson Park Rd, CB 669, Portland, OR 97239-3098, (2) School of Community Health, Portland State University, PO Box 751, Portland, OR 97207-0751, 503-725-5167,, (3) Community Capacitation Center, Multnomah County Health Department, 10317 E Burnside, Portland, OR 97217

Social capital has become increasingly prominent as a potential explanation of how socioeconomic factors influence health disparities. Practitioners have suggested practical applications of the concept for public health promotion at the community level. However, inconsistent definitions and reliance on previously collected data has had negative implications for the operationalization and measurement of social capital. Additionally, few studies have examined the impact of ethnic identity on the concept of social capital. As a result of these limitations, the usefulness of social capital within community-based research projects has been criticized. In this paper, we describe a community-based participatory process involving members of the African American and Latino communities in Multnomah County, Oregon to define and measure social capital. Using popular education techniques, such as role-plays and small group activities, individuals representing community-based organizations were involved in a process of defining social capital and identifying relevant local examples to describe key concepts. This process was used to develop social capital items for a community survey that was conducted in face-to-face interviews with randomly sampled community members. We will describe the participatory process used to develop the community-concept of social capital, as well as similarities and differences in the results of the social capital survey between the African American and Latino communities. Finally we will discuss implications for health promotion activities and policies. These data were collected as part of a community-based participatory research project, Poder es Salud/Power for Health, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Community Building, Participatory Action Research

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Community-Based Assessment: Diverse Approaches

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA