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Health outcomes among Swedish children: the role of social capital in the family, school and neighbourhood

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Aim:  The aim of the study was to explore the extent to which Swedish children’s perceptions of social capital in the family, school and neighbourhood predicted health complaints and well‐being.

Methods:  The study used data from the Swedish Health Behaviour in School‐aged Children survey. The sample consisted of 3926 children aged 11–15 years. Correlations and hierarchical multiple linear regression were performed.

Results:  Higher degrees of family, school and neighbourhood social capital corresponded to lower levels of health complaints and higher levels of well‐being. Social capital in these three spheres had a cumulative effect on children’s health and well‐being.

Conclusions:  Social capital in the family, school and neighbourhood matters for children’s health and well‐being and the contributions from each context seem to be additive. Besides the family context, investments for improving child health should primarily be in the school, focusing on social relations and on creating safe and cohesive school environments. Neighbourhood social capital is also of importance and so must be taken into consideration when planning child health promotion interventions.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Health Sciences, Mid Sweden University, Östersund, Sweden 2: Department of Psychology, Mälardalens University, Eskilstuna, Sweden

Publication date: 2012-05-01

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