Social capital and health status: longitudinal race and ethnicity differences in older adults from 2006 to 2014

Ester Villalonga-Olives*, Josue Almansa, Cheryl L Knott, Yusuf Ransome

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    12 Citations (Scopus)
    64 Downloads (Pure)


    Objectives: We examined the longitudinal associations of social capital on self-rated health and differences by race/ethnicity in older adults. Methods: We used Health and Retirement Study, a nationally representative sample of US adults aged ≥ 50 years evaluated every 2 years (2006–2014) (N = 18,859). We investigated the relationship between social capital indicators (neighborhood social cohesion/physical disorder, positive/negative social support) with self-rated health accounting for age, gender, education and stratified by race/ethnicity. We used structural equation multilevel modeling estimating the associations: within-wave and between-persons. Results: We observed between-persons-level associations among social capital indicators and self-rated health. Individuals with overall levels of positive social support and neighborhood social cohesion tended to have overall better self-rated health [correlations 0.21 (p < 0.01) and 0.29 (p < 0.01), respectively]. For Hispanics, the correlations with self-rated health were lower for neighborhood social cohesion (0.19) and negative social support (− 0.09), compared to Whites (0.29 and − 0.20). African-Americans showed lower correlations of positive social support (0.14) compared to Whites (0.21) and Hispanics (0.28). Conclusions: Interventions targeting social capital are in need, specifically those reinforcing positive social support and neighborhood social cohesion and diminishing neighborhood physical disorder and negative social support of older adults.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)291-302
    Number of pages12
    JournalInternational Journal of Public Health
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Apr-2020

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