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

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

4031.0: Tuesday, November 18, 2003 - 8:30 AM

Abstract #63488

Social capital, social ties, and mental health in the United States

Timothy T. Brown, PhD and Richard Scheffler, PhD. Petris Center - School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, 2150 Shattuck Ave, Suite 525, Berkeley, CA 94720-7380, 510-643-4103,

Community-level social capital is theorized to affect individual mental health through a number of pathways. Two pathways, (1) the diffusion of information on health-related behaviors, and (2) psychosocial support, are evaluated. The likely link through which these pathways transmit the benefits of community-level social capital to individual mental health is an individualís social ties. This link is evaluated using data from the 2000 and 2001 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) and the 2000 Social Capital Community Benchmark Survey (SCCBS). Measures of social capital come from the 2000 SCCBS and include social trust, group involvement, and the diversity of friendships. Measures of social ties come from the 2001 NHIS and include social visits with friends or neighbors, telephone calls to friends or neighbors, social visits with relatives not living in the same household, telephone calls to relatives not living in the same household, attending religious functions, attending group events, and going out to eat. A mental health production function is estimated which includes social capital, social ties, functional status, demographic information, perceived emotional support, and health behaviors related to mental health including smoking, exercise, and alcohol use. Endogenous terms are corrected for using instrumental variables. Interaction terms between social capital and social ties are used to determine whether the level of social capital varies with the level of an individualís social ties. Specifications that include and exclude health behaviors and include and exclude perceived emotional support are also included to determine whether social capital enhances mental health through each pathway.

Learning Objectives:

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.

Social Determinants of Health - How local Environments Affect biological, psychological and social health

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