Effect of neighborhood and individual social capital in early childhood on oral health-related quality of life: a 7-year cohort study

  • Jessica Klöckner Knorst
  • Gabriele Rissotto Menegazzo
  • Bruno Emmanuelli
  • Fausto Medeiros Mendes
  • Thiago Machado ArdenghiEmail author



Social capital incorporates both contextual and individual levels of interactions and influences health. The aim of this study was to assess the influence of neighborhood and individual social capital on oral health-related quality of life (OHRQoL) of children.


This 7-year cohort study was conducted with 639 children (1–5 years) who had been evaluated initially with a survey administered in 2010. OHRQoL was assessed using the Brazilian version of the Child Perception Questionnaire (CPQ8-10) in the follow-up. Contextual variables related to social capital were collected during the baseline and included the presence of social class associations, workers’ associations, and cultural community centers. Individual variables included individual social networks, socioeconomic variables, and oral health measures (dental caries and overjet). A multilevel Poisson regression model was used to investigate the influence of individual and contextual characteristics on OHRQoL. With this approach, we calculated incidence rate ratio (IRR) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI).


From the 639 preschoolers examined at baseline, a total of 449 children were re-evaluated after 7 years (70.3% response rate). Children who lived in areas with social class associations at baseline reported better OHRQoL in the follow-up (IRR 0.79; 95% CI 0.67–0.93). Regarding individual variables, low socioeconomic status, poor clinical conditions, and weak social networks were also associated with higher overall CPQ8-10 scores.


High levels of individual and neighborhood social capital in early childhood positively influenced children’s OHRQoL. This finding is important in planning public health policies to improve children’s health and well-being.


Children Cohort study Epidemiology Quality of life Social capital 



The authors thank all the children, their parents, and schools for their cooperation, as well as the Health and Education Authorities from Santa Maria, Rio Grande do Sul, for all information and authorization. This study was financed in part by the Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior—Brasil (CAPES)—Finance Code 001.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the Human Research Ethics Committee of the Federal University of Santa Maria (protocol number 54257216.1.0000.5346), Brazil.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Stomatology, School of DentistryFederal University of Santa MariaSanta MariaBrazil
  2. 2.Integrated Regional University of Alto Uruguai and Missões (URI)ErechimBrazil
  3. 3.Department of Pediatric Dentistry, School of DentistryUniversity of São PauloSão PauloBrazil
  4. 4.Departamento de EstomatologiaFaculdade de Odontologia da Universidade Federal de Santa MariaSanta MariaBrazil

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