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Soc Sci Med. 2013 Mar;80:113-20. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2012.12.005. Epub 2012 Dec 11.

Compositional and contextual associations of social capital and self-rated health in Seoul, South Korea: a multilevel analysis of longitudinal evidence.

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School of Public Affairs, Pennsylvania State University, 157-W Olmsted, 777 West Harrisburg Pike, Middletown, PA 17057, USA.


This study aims to examine the association between social capital at the individual and administrative-area levels and individual self-rated health while adjusting for various confounders at multiple levels using a multilevel analysis with longitudinal data from Seoul, South Korea. Respondents participating in Wave 1 (2009) and 2 (2010) of the Seoul Welfare Panel Study who have full information on the independent and dependent variables were used in the final analysis. This yielded a total of 5482 participants in 2742 households, which were in turn found within 25 administrative areas in Seoul, South Korea. The results of a three level random intercept logistic regression analysis showed that an individual level perceived helpfulness and organizational participation were associated with a higher likelihood of reporting good health after controlling for individual, household, administrative-area level variables, and baseline self-rated health. However, neither administrative-area level social capital variables were associated with self-rated health. The results suggest that individual level social capital plays an important role in enhancing individual health. The results also suggest that the relatively large size of the administrative-area used in this study may be one reason which may hinder detecting any significant associations at this level. Further research is also needed to seek more relevant contexts where contextual social capital would be operating.

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