Social capital in Japan: What characteristics do public health nurses see in their communities?

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A concept of social capital that accounts for a community's cultural background and incorporates social capital into public health nursing practice are needed. This study aimed to describe the characteristics of social capital in the context of public health nursing in Japan.


The study interviewed 11 veteran public health nurses from five municipalities across Japan and undertook a qualitative research analysis. A digital voice recorder was used to collect qualitative data by using a background data sheet and semistructured interviews. Trustworthiness in interpreting the data was ensured by conducting 13 additional interviews with residents and collating the two sets of results.


All the participants were female: 10 were veterans with ≥15 years' experience. Nine worked in management. The methods yielded six categories: (i) the richness of the interactions among the residents; (ii) the community residents who showed concern for those in need; (iii) community civic activities; (iv) the residents' willingness to contribute to the community; (v) the health promotion volunteers who work alongside the public health nurses; and (vi) an enriched community environment.


The results contribute to an understanding of social capital in the context of public health nursing activities and further research on social capital. It also is discussed how social capital can be incorporated into public health nursing activities in the future.

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