The association between network social capital and self-rated health: Pouring old wine in new bottles?

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Abstract

This study examines whether there is an association between network social capital and self-rated health after controlling for social support. Moreover, we distinguish between network social capital that emerges from strong ties and weak ties. We used a cross-sectional representative sample of 815 adults from the Belgian population. Social capital is measured with the position generator and perceived social support with the MOS Social Support-scale. Results suggest that network social capital is associated with self-rated health after adjustment for social support. Because different social classes have access to different sets of resources, resources of friends and family from the intermediate and higher service classes are beneficial for self-rated health, whereas resources of friends and family from the working class appear to be rather detrimental for self-rated health. From a health-promoting perspective, these findings indicate that policy makers should deal with the root causes of socioeconomic disadvantages in society.

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