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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2018  |  Volume : 62  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 294-298

Social capital as a mediator of the influence of socioeconomic position on health: Findings from a population-based cross-sectional study in Chandigarh, India


1 Professor, School of Public Health, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India
2 Wellcome Trust/DBT India Alliance Senior Fellow, School of Public Health, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India
3 Assistant Professor, Department of Community Medicine, Pondicherry Institute of Medical Sciences, Puducherry, India
4 Data Analyst, School of Public Health, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Venkatesan Chakrapani
Wellcome Trust/DBT India Alliance Senior Fellow, School of Public Health, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh - 160 012
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ijph.IJPH_274_17

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Background: Social capital has been recognized as part of the WHO's Social Determinants of Health model given that social connections and relationships may serve as resources of information and tangible support. While the association between socioeconomic position and health is relatively well established, scant empirical research has been conducted in developing countries on the association between social capital and health. Objective: Based on the WHO's Social Determinants of Health framework, we tested whether social capital mediates the effect of socioeconomic position on mental and physical health. Methods: A population-based study was conducted among a representative sample (n = 1563) of men and women in Chandigarh, India. We used standardized scales for measuring social capital (mediator variable) and self-rated mental and physical health (outcome variable). Results: A socioeconomic position index (independent variable) was computed from education, occupation, and caste categories. Mediation model was tested using path analysis in IBM SPSS-Amos. Participants' mean age was 40.1 years. About half of the participants were women (49.3%), and most were relatively well educated. The results showed that socioeconomic position was a significant predictor of physical and mental health. Social capital was a significant mediator of the effect of socioeconomic position on mental health but not physical health. Conclusion: Besides removing socioeconomic barriers through poverty alleviation programs, interventions to improve social capital, especially in economically disadvantaged communities, may help in improving population health.


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