Social capital and core network ties: A validation study of individual-level social capital measures and their association with extra- and intra-neighborhood ties, and self-rated health

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Research on social capital and health has assumed that measures of trust, participation, and perceived cohesion capture aspects of people's neighborhood social connections. This study uses data on the personal networks of 2707 Montreal adults in 300 different neighborhoods to examine the association of socio-demographic and social capital variables with the likelihood of having core ties, core neighborhood ties, and high self-rated health (SRH). Persons with higher household income were more likely to have core ties, but less likely to have core neighborhood ties. Persons with greater diversity in extra-neighborhood network capital were more likely to have core ties, and persons with greater diversity in intra-neighborhood network capital were more likely to have core neighborhood ties. Generalized trust, perceived neighborhood cohesion, and extra-neighborhood network diversity were shown associated with high SRH. Conventional measures of social capital may not capture network mechanisms. Findings suggest a critical appraisal of the mechanisms linking social capital and health, and the further delineation of network and psychosocial mechanisms in understanding these links.

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