Social capital and self-rated health among older adults: A comparative analysis of Finland, Poland and Spain

Eleni Koutsogeorgou, Fredrica Nyqvist, Mikael Nygård, Milda Cerniauskaite, Rui Quintas, Alberto Raggi, Matilde Leonardi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The aim of this paper is to investigate the association between structural and cognitive aspects of social capital and self-rated health among adults aged 50 or more, living in three countries: Finland, Poland and Spain. The study, which was based on data from the European Social Survey (2008/09), was a part of the EU research project COURAGE in Europe. More specifically the paper assesses the association between social capital indicators - informal social network and general trust - and good self-rated health through single-level and joint effects analyses. The results showed that Finland was a country of high social capital, in terms of both social networks and general trust, while Spain showed low levels of general trust and Poland low levels of informal social networks. As to the association between social capital and self-rated health, high levels of general trust and high networks were found to be associated with good health among all countries' respondents. Older persons living in partnerships, with higher education, higher levels of engagement in informal networks and general trust, were found to be more likely to show good self-rated health. Our comparative analyses revealed different associations between social capital and health according to country.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)653-667
Number of pages15
JournalAgeing and Society
Volume35
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 20 2015

Keywords

  • ageing
  • Finland
  • Poland
  • self-rated health
  • social capital
  • social networks
  • Spain
  • trust

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Social Psychology

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