Social capital, mental health and biomarkers in Chile: Assessing the effects of social capital in a middle-income country
Riumallo-Herl, Carlos Javier
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CitationRiumallo-Herl, Carlos Javier, Ichiro Kawachi, and Mauricio Avendano. 2014. “Social Capital, Mental Health and Biomarkers in Chile: Assessing the Effects of Social Capital in a Middle-Income Country.” Social Science & Medicine 105 (March): 47–58. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2013.12.018.
AbstractIn high-income countries, higher social capital is associated with better health. However, there is little evidence of this association in low- and middle-income countries. We examine the association between social capital (social support and trust) and both self-rated and biologically assessed health outcomes in Chile, a middle-income country that experienced a major political transformation and welfare state expansion in the last two decades. Based on data from the Chilean National Health Survey (2009-10), we modeled self-rated health, depression, measured diabetes and hypertension as a function of social capital indicators, controlling for socio-economic status and health behavior. We used an instrumental variable approach to examine whether social capital was causally associated with health. We find that correlations between social capital and health observed in high-income countries are also observed in Chile. All social capital indicators are significantly associated with depression at all ages, and at least one social capital indicator is associated with self-rated health, hypertension and diabetes at ages 45 and above. Instrumental variable models suggest that associations for depression may reflect a causal effect from social capital indicators on mental well-being. Using aggregate social capital as instrument, we also find evidence that social capital may be causally associated with hypertension and diabetes, early markers of cardiovascular risk. Our findings highlight the potential role of social capital in the prevention of depression and early cardiovascular disease in middle-income countries.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:41288278
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