Building Community Social Capital

  • Ellen S. LiebermanEmail author


This chapter synthesizes relevant research from sociology, social epidemiology, psychology, and public health to explicate the relationship between social capital and population health. Social capital theory provides a framework for the ways in which social interactions can facilitate the exchange of information, increase resources for individuals, and provide support between networks. The resulting relationships and resources enhance trust and reciprocity, affect community participation, and consequently impact individual health and social outcomes. Worldwide research has shown that positive social and emotional health outcomes can be attained through building and sustaining social capital in communities. The development of this capital is especially important in poor, deprived, and/or segregated communities because of the need to connect to resources and social networks that are not available within their own community. Interactions between place, space, socioeconomic factors, group health behaviors, individual health, and the role of health professionals in creating effective social networks are discussed. Research-based strategies for the development of social capital in communities are presented. Practical recommendations for healthcare professionals are offered for improvement to social infrastructures, community capacity, and inclusion of local governance.


Social capital Social networks Social cohesion Strong ties Social determinants 


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Douglass Residential CollegeRutgers UniversityNew BrunswickUSA

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