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Soc Sci Res. 2012 Jan;41(1):110-9. Epub 2011 Jul 14.

The burdens of social capital: How socially-involved people dealt with stress after Hurricane Katrina.

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Department of Sociology, 126 Stubbs Hall, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70808, United States.


Research shows that those with greater social capital enjoy better physical and mental health. The current study illuminates a paradox of social capital which may afflict those involved in traumatic events. Several years of survey data reveal a dynamic picture of the link between social capital and stress following Hurricane Katrina. Results reveal that initially after Katrina, those who were more socially embedded carried the greatest load with respect to helping the displaced population, thus experiencing more stress. But over time, the most socially-involved then snapped back from their stressful experiences more rapidly than isolates. This confirms that over the course of stressful events, social involvement first exposes people to more stress, but as time passes, provides them a significant buffer against negative psychosocial experiences.

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