Social Indicators Research

, Volume 142, Issue 1, pp 411–430 | Cite as

Social Capital and Health in China: Evidence from the Chinese General Social Survey 2010

  • Yiwen Zhang
  • Junfeng JiangEmail author


Empirical evidence regarding the relationship between social capital and health in China is relatively limited. This study aims to examine the impact of different types of social capital, including bonding, bridging and linking capitals, on physical, mental and general health of Chinese residents. 2985 cases from the Chinese General Social Survey 2010 were selected and hierarchical linear model analysis was performed. We found that at the individual level, bonding and bridging social capitals were positively associated with mental health in rural, urban and global China, but with general health in urban and global China only; linking social capital, which was measured by political participation and political efficacy in China for the first time, had significant positive impact on mental health in rural, urban and global China. At the county level, bonding social capital could only improve physical and general health in rural and global China, while bridging social capital would damage mental health in urban and global China. Furthermore, bridging social capital showed a passive cross-level interaction effect on physical health in urban and global China, and general health in global China. Our results also suggest that in order to exert positive impacts of social capital on health, efforts should be made to cultivate specific social capital in specific place and to promote equal distribution of related resources countrywide.


Social capital Health status Urban–rural disparities Hierarchical linear model China 



This study was funded by the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (Grant No. Whu2016026).


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Health SciencesWuhan UniversityWuhanChina

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