2008, pp 139-190

Social Capital and Physical Health

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In this chapter, we describe the key findings from a systematic review of empirical studies linking social capital to physical health outcomes. As noted in the Introduction, as well as the chapters by van der Gaag and Webber (chapter 2), and Lakon and colleagues (chapter 4), much of the public health literature has focused on the health effects of social cohesion. That is, both ecological and multilevel studies have sought to examine the health impacts of group cohesion measured at different scales (e.g., neighborhoods, states, nations). In turn, a number of individual-level studies have sought to test the relationships between individual perceptions of social cohesion (e.g., trust of others) and health outcomes.