Investigating the relationship between social capital and health
Master of Public Health
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The social determinants of health and health related behaviours have been studied extensively. Social capital is a construct first used in economic and sociological research, which is currently being used to investigate health. Health is often cited as one of the most important things in one’s life. Many individuals, however, practice lifestyle behaviours which place them at risk. For example, smoking is recognized as a health risk for all persons and many young adults attending post-secondary institutions may smoke. To what extent, is a young adult’s social capital associated with their health and can social capital be used to describe a specific health behaviour such as smoking? In the present study, a pilot survey was developed specific to a post-secondary population to assess individual social capital indicators, formulate a social capital index, and determine the extent to which the index was associated with health and a specific behaviour - smoking . Knowledge of the strength or weakness in the social capital of a post-secondary community may assist health care practitioners with strategies to assist young people.