Investigating the relationship between social capital and self-rated health in South Africa

by Yan Kwan Lau

Institution: University of Cape Town
Degree: M.P.H.
Year: 2014
Keywords: Health Economics
Record ID: 1412023
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/11180/9660


Includes abstract. Much research has examined the relationship between social capital and self-rated health in developed countries. Few studies, however, have investigated this important relationship in developing countries. This study examined this research gap using data from the National Income Dynamics Study (NIDS), the first nationally representative panel study in South Africa. Information regarding social capital - norms of reciprocity, association activity, trust and group membership - was assessed in NIDS. Self-rated health was collected at Wave 1 in 2008, and Wave 2 in 2010 - 2011. The final sample consisted of 8866 respondents. Mixed effects models were fitted to predict self-rated health in Wave 2, using lagged covariates (from Wave 1). The results indicated that individual personalised trust, individual community service group membership and neighbourhood personalised trust were beneficial to self-rated health. Reciprocity, associational activity and other types of group memberships were not found to be significantly associated with self-rated health. Results indicate that both individual- and contextual-level social capital are associated with self-rated health. Policy makers in South Africa may want to consider social capital, in addition to other well-known social determinants of health, when implementing policies to improve the health of its population.