The impact of neighborhood social capital on life satisfaction and self-rated health: A possible pathway for health promotion?

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Abstract

Neighborhood social capital has repeatedly been linked to favorable health-outcomes and life satisfaction. However, it has been questioned whether it's impact on health has been over-rated. We aim to investigate relationships between neighborhood social capital and self-rated health (SRH) and life satisfaction (LS) respectively, both directly and indirectly mediated via Sense of Coherence and self-esteem. Based on a cross-sectional population-survey (N=865) in a medium size Norwegian municipality, we specified a structural equation model (SEM) including the above-listed variables, while controlling for gender, age, education, income, and employment status. The applied model explains more variance in LS (46%) than in SRH (23%). Social capital has a stronger impact on life satisfaction than on health. The indirect pathway via SOC had the highest impact on life satisfaction, but no significant relationship to SRH. Self-rated health was more tightly linked to personal background variables. Enhancing social capital in the neighborhood might be a beneficial strategy to promote life satisfaction, as well as strengthening sense of coherence even in healthy communities

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