Neighborhood Social Capital and Adult Health: Support for a Comprehensive Model of Social Capital

Kristin McCarthy, Columbia University
Constance T. Gager, Montclair State University

We use a more comprehensive conception of social capital theory as explicated by Carpiano (2006; 2007; 2008). He argues that the literature has overlooked three important aspects of social capital including the actual or potential resources that inhere within neighborhood social networks, the disparate abilities of residents to access and pursue resources, and the potential negative aspects of social capital that may be detrimental to health (Carpiano, 2008). Using data from the third wave of the Fragile Families Child and Well-being Study (FFCWS), we examine the effect of several new measures of social capital on maternal smoking, alcohol abuse, and self-rated health. By applying Carpiano’s more comprehensive theoretical model to a new data source, we hope to offer new insights and provide support for the assertion that traditional communitarian conceptualization of social capital, and its relationship to health, does not promote a better understanding of health inequalities and health outcomes.

  See extended abstract

Presented in Poster Session 6