Social Capital and Mental Health

An Updated Interdisciplinary Review of Primary Evidence
  • Astier M. Almedom
  • Douglas Glandon


Social capital is a compound and complex construct, an umbrella term under which social cohesion, social support, social integration and/or participation are often lumped together. Beyond its growing appeal to policy makers, practitioners and researchers in public health in general and mental health in particular, social capital is now also an integral part of broad-based discussions on social-ecological resilience, ecosystem sustainability, and the collective management of natural resources (see for instance, Adger et al., 2005; Hardin, 1968; Pretty, 2003). This chapter revisits and updates the analysis presented in an earlier interdisciplinary review of primary evidence linking social capital and mental health (Almedom, 2005).


Mental Health Social Capital Mental Health Service Social Cohesion Mental Distress 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Adger, W. N, Hughes, T. P., Folke, C., Carpenter, S. R., Rockstiön, J., (2005). Social-ecological resilience to coastal disasters. Science, 309, 1036–1039.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Ahern, M., & Hendryx, M. S. (2003). Social capital and trust in providers. Social Science & Medicine, 57, 1195–1203.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Almedom, A. M. (2005). Social capital and mental health: An interdisciplinary review of primary evidence. Social Science & Medicine, 61, 943–964.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Almedom, A. M., & Gosling, R. (2003). The health of young asylum seekers and refugees in The United Kingdom: Reflection from research. In Allotey, P. (Ed.), The health of refugees: Public health perspectives from crisis to settlement (pp. 169–184). Melbourne: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Aneshensel, C. S., Estrada, A. L., Hansell, M. J., & Clark, V. A. (1987). Social psychological aspects of reporting behavior: Lifetime depressive episode reports. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 28, 232–246.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Aneshensel, C. S., Frerichs, R. R., & Clark, V. A. (1981). Family roles and sex differences in depression. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 22, 379–393.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Aneshensel, C. S., & Sucoff, C. A. (1996). Jue neighborhood context of adolesceut meutal health. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 37(4), 293–310.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Antonucci, T. C., & Akiyama, H. (1987). An examination of sex differences in social sup-port among older men and women. Sex Roles, 17, 737–749.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Antonucci, T. C., Fuhrer, R., & Jackson, J. S. (1990). Social support and reciprocity: A cross-ethnic and cross-national perspective. Journal of Social and Personal Relation-ships, 7, 519–530.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Beyers, J. M., Bates, J. E., & Pettit, G. S. & Dodge, K. A. (2003). Neighborhood structure, parenting processes, and the development of youths’ externalizing behaviors: A multilevel analysis. American Journal of Community Psychology, 31, 35–53.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Brown, G. W., & Harris, T. (1978). Social origins of depression: A study of psychiatric disorder in women. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  12. Caughy, M. O., O’Campo, P. J., & Muntaner, C. (2003). When being alone might be better: neighborhood poverty, social capital, and child mental health. Social Science & Medicine, 57, 227–237.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Campbell, C., Cornish, F., & McLean, C. (2004). Social capital, participation and the perpetuation of health inequalities: Obstacles to African-Caribbean participation in ‘Patrtnerships’ to improve mental health. Ethnicity & Health, 9, 313–335.Google Scholar
  14. Cotterill, L., & Taylor, D. (2001). Promoting mental health and wellbeing amongst housebound older people. Quality in Ageing, 2, 32–46.Google Scholar
  15. Davis, M. (1998). Ecology of fear. New York: Vintage.Google Scholar
  16. Desai, R. A., Dausey, D. J., & Rosenheck, R. A., (2005). Mental health delivery and sui-cide risk: The role of individual patient and facility factors. American Journal of Psychi-atry, 162, 311–318.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Dohrenwend, B. P., Levav, I., Shrout, P. E. Schwartz, S., Naveh, G., Link, B. G., Skodol, A. E., & Stueve, A. (1992). Socioeconomic status and psychiatric disorders: The causation-selection issue. Science, 255, 946–952.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Drukker, M., Driessen, G., Krabbendam, L., & van Os J.(2004). The wider social environ-ment and mental health service use. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 110, 119–129.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Drukker, M., Kaplan, C., & Feron, F. & van Os J. (2003). Children’s health-related quality of life, neighbourhood socio-economic deprivation and social capital: A contextual analysis. Social Science & Medicine, 57, 825–841.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Evans, D. (2003). ‘Taking public health out of the ghetto’: The policy and practice of multi-disciplinary public health in the United Kingdom. Social Science & Medicine, 57, 959–967.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Fram, M. S. (2005). ‘‘It’s just not all teenage moms’’: Diversity, support, and relationship family services. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 75, 507–517.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Fullilove, M. T. (1998). Promoting social cohesion to improve health. Journal of American Medical Women’s Association, 52, 72–76.Google Scholar
  23. Geronimus, A. T. (2003). Damned if you do: culture, identity, privilege, and teenage childbearing in the United States. Social Science & Medicine, 57, 881–893.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hardin, G. (1968). The tragedy of the commons. Science, 162, 1243–1248.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Harpham, T., Snoxell, S., Grant, E., & Rodriguez, C. (2005). Common mental disorders in a young urban population in Colombia. British Journal of Psychiatry, 187, 161–167.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Harpham, T., Grant, E., & Rodriguez, C. (2004). Mental health and social capital in Cali, Colombia. Social Science & Medicine, 58, 2267–2277.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Harris, T., Brown, G. W., & Robinson, R. (1999a). Befriendingas an intervention for chronic depression among women in an inner city. 1: Randomized controlled trial. British Journal of Psychiatry, 174, 219–224.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Harris, T., Brown, G. W., & Robinson, R. (1999b). Befriendingas an intervention for chronic depression among women in an inner city. 2: Role of fresh-start experiences and baseline psychosocial factors in remission from depression. British Journal of Psychia-try, 174, 225–232.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Health First (Community Health South London). (1999). Health needs and perceptions of young people in Lambeth. Report prepared by Carrick James market Research, June 1999, London.Google Scholar
  30. Hendryx, M. S., & Ahern, M. M. (2001). Access to mental health services and health sector social capital. Administration and Policy in Mental Health, 28, 205–218.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Hendryx, M. S., Ahern, M. M., Loverich, N. P., & McCurdy, A. R. (2002). Access to health care and community social capital. Health Services Research, 31, 85–101.Google Scholar
  32. Higgins, J. (1998). HAZs warning. Health Service Journal, 24–25.Google Scholar
  33. Jacobson, B., & Yen, L. (1998). Health action zones offer the possibility of radical ideas which need rigorous evaluation. British Medical Journal, 316, 164.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. Judge, K. (2000). Testing evaluation to the limits: the case of English Health Action Zones. Journal of Health Service Research Policy, 5, 3–5.Google Scholar
  35. Kawachi, I., & Berkman, L. F. (2001). Social ties and mental health. Journal of Urban Health-Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine, 78, 458–467.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. Kennedy, B., Kawachi, I., & Brainerd, E. (1998). The role of social capital in the Russian morality crisis. World Development, 26(11), 2029-2043.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Klinenberg, E. (2002). Heat wave: A social autopsy of disaster in Chicago. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  38. Krause, N. (1997). Anticipated support, received support, and economic stress among older adults. Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, 52B, 284–293.Google Scholar
  39. Liang, J., Krause, N. M., & Bennett, J. M. (2001). Social exchange and well-being: Is giving better than receiving? Psychology & Aging, 16, 511–523.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Lindström, M., Merlo, J., & Östergren, P-O. (2003). Social capital and sense of insecurity in the neighborhood: a population-based multilevel analysis in Malmö, Sweden. Social Science & Medicine, 56, 1111–1120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Mitchell, C. U., & LaGory, M. (2002). Social capital and mental distress in an impover-ished community. City & Community, 1, 195–215.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Moffitt, T. E., the E-Risk Study Team. (2002). Teen-aged mothers in contemporary Britain. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 43, 727–742.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  43. Mulvaney, C., & Kendrick, D. (2005). Depressive symptoms in mothers of pre-school children: Effects of deprivation, social support, stress and neighbourhood social capital. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 40, 2002–2008.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Pevalin, D. J., & Goldberg, D. P. (2003). Social precursors to onset and recovery from episodes of common mental illness. Psychological Medicine, 33, 299–306.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  45. Portney, K. E., & Berry, J. M. (1997). Mobilizing minority communities: Social capital and participation in urban neighborhoods. American Behavioral Scientist, 40, 632–644.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Powell, M., & Moon, G. (2001). Health action zones: the ‘third way’ of a new area-based policy? Health and Social care in the Community, 9, 43–50.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  47. Pretty, J. (2003). Social capital and the collective management of resources. Science, 302, 1912–1914.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  48. Putnam, R. D., Leonardi, R., & Nanetti, R. Y. (1993). Making democracy work, civic traditions in modern Italy. New Jersey: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  49. Rose, R. (2001). When government fails: Social capital in an antimodern Russia. In B. Edwards, M. W. Foley, M. Diani (Eds.), Beyond tocqueville (pp. 56–69)., Hanover and London: Tufts University, University Press of New England..Google Scholar
  50. Rose, R. (2000a). Howmuch does social capital add to individual health? A survey study of Russians. Social Science & Medicine, 51, 1421–1435.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Rose, R. (2000b). Usesof social capital in Russia: Modern, pre-modern, and anti-modern. Post-Soviet Affairs, 16, 33–57.Google Scholar
  52. Rosenheck, R., Morrissey, J., Lam, J., Calloway, M., Stolar, M., Johnsen, M., Randolph, F., Blasinsky, M., & Goldman, H. (2001). Service delivery and community: Social capital, service systems integration, and outcomes among homeless persons with severe mental illness. Health Services Research, 36, 691–710.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  53. Ross, C. E., Reynolds, J. R., & Geis, K. J. (2000). The contingent meaning of neighbor-hood stability for residents’ psychological well-being. American Journal of Social Review, 65, 581–597.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Sampson, R. J., Stephen, W. R., & Earls, F. (1997). Neighborhoods and violent crime: A multilevel study of collective efficacy. Science, 277, 918–924.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  55. Sartorius, N. (2003). Social capital and mental health. Current Opinion in Psychiatry, 16, S101–S105.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Sartorius, N. (2002). Fighting for mental health. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  57. Sayce, L. (2000). From psychiatric patient to citizen: Overcoming discrimination and social exclusion. London and New York: Macmillan and St. Martin’s Press.Google Scholar
  58. Social Exclusion Unit, 1999a. Teenage Pregnancy Report presented to Parliament by the Prime Minister by Command of Her majesty (June 1999), London.Google Scholar
  59. Social Exclusion Unit, 1999b. Bridging the Gap: New opportunities for 16–18 year olds not in education, employment or training London.Google Scholar
  60. Steptoe, A., & Feldman, P. J. (2001). Neighborhood problems as sources of chronic stress: Development of a measure of neighborhood problems, and associations with socioeco-nomic status and health. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 23, 177–185.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  61. Stevenson, H. C. (1998). Raising safe villages: Cultural-ecological factors that influence the emotional adjustment of adolescents. Journal of Black Psychology, 24, 44–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Stevenson, H. C. Jr. (1997). ‘‘Missed, dissed, and pissed’’: Making meaning of neighbor-hood risk, fear and anger management in urban black youth. Cultural Diversity and Mental Health, 3, 37–52.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  63. Taket, A., White, L. (2000). Partnership & participation. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons.Google Scholar
  64. Taket, A., & White, L. (1998). Experience in the practice of one tradition of multimethod-ology. Systemic Practice and Action Research, 11, 153–168.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Taket, A., & White, L. (1994). Doing community operational research with multicultural groups. Omega, International Journal of Management Science, 22, 579–588.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. van der Linden, J., Drukker, M., Gunther, N., Feron, F., & van Os, J. (2003). Children’s mental health service use, neighbourhood socioeconomic deprivation, and social capi-tal. Social Psychiatry & Pshychiatric Epidemiology, 38. 507–514.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Weine, S. M., Ware, N., & Klebic, A. (2004). Converting cultural capital among teen refugees and their families from Bosnia-Herzegovina. Psychiatric Services, 55, 923–927.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  68. Weine, S. M., Ware, N., & Klebic, A. (2004). A family approach to severe mental illness in post-war Kosoro. Psychiatry, 68(1), 17–27Google Scholar
  69. White, L., & Taket, A. (1994). The death of the expert. Journal of Operational Research Society, 45, 733–748.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Astier M. Almedom
    • 1
  • Douglas Glandon
    • 1
  1. 1.Tufts UniversityBostonUSA

Personalised recommendations