Social capital or liability? Gender, network size and self-rated health (SRH) among community-dwelling adults in Lao People's Democratic Republic

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Abstract

This study examines the relationship between social capital and health by focusing on a novel empirical case: Lao People's Democratic Republic (PDR). Specifically, it examines individual- and community-level associations between network size and self-rated health (SRH) among community-dwelling Lao adults, and how gender may moderate those associations. Data come from the original survey (of 979 respondents in 50 villages) conducted in Laos in 2015. Using pooled and stratified subsets of data, we fitted a series of (2-level) hierarchical generalized linear models to investigate the network size-SRH linkage, while adjusting for confounders. Net of age, gender, ethnicity, partnership status, educational attainment, household economic background, life satisfaction, social support, and physical conditions (BMI and number of adverse bodily symptoms), we find that larger network size (number of confidants) is negatively related to SRH for both male and female subgroups. For the female subsample, residence in a “better-connected” community, characterized by greater aggregate network size, is also associated with lower odds of being healthy. No such contextual-level effect exists for men.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)617-626
Number of pages10
JournalSocial Science Journal
Volume56
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was funded by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF-2015S1A3A2046566).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018

Keywords

  • Contextual effect
  • Lao PDR
  • Network size
  • Self-rated health
  • Social capital

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