Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology

, Volume 49, Issue 10, pp 1589–1598 | Cite as

Social capital and reported discrimination among people with depression in 15 European countries

  • Silvia Zoppei
  • Antonio Lasalvia
  • Chiara Bonetto
  • Tine Van Bortel
  • Fredrica Nyqvist
  • Martin Webber
  • Esa Aromaa
  • Jaap Van Weeghel
  • Mariangela Lanfredi
  • Judit Harangozó
  • Kristian Wahlbeck
  • Graham Thornicroft
  • the ASPEN Study Group
Original Paper



Social capital is a protective factor for mental health. People with depression are vulnerable to discrimination and its damaging impact. No previous studies have explored the link between social capital and experienced or anticipated discrimination in people with depression. This study aims to test the hypothesis that levels of self-reported discrimination in people with depression are inversely associated with social capital levels.


A total of 434 people with major depression recruited in outpatient settings across 15 European countries participated in the study. Multivariable regression was used to analyse relationships between discrimination and interpersonal and institutional trust, social support and social network.


Significant inverse association was found between discrimination and social capital in people with major depression. Specifically, people with higher levels of social capital were less likely to have elevated or substantially elevated levels of experienced discrimination.


Higher level of social capital may be closely associated with lower level of experienced discrimination among patients with major depression. It is important to explore these associations more deeply and to establish possible directions of causality in order to identify interventions that may promote social capital and reduce discrimination. This may permit greater integration in society and more access to important life opportunities for people with depression.


Depression Social capital Discrimination Social support Multisite study 



Funding for this study was provided by the European Union in the framework of the Public Health Programme.

Conflict of interest

All authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Supplementary material

127_2014_856_MOESM1_ESM.doc (38 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 14 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Silvia Zoppei
    • 1
  • Antonio Lasalvia
    • 1
  • Chiara Bonetto
    • 1
  • Tine Van Bortel
    • 2
  • Fredrica Nyqvist
    • 3
  • Martin Webber
    • 4
  • Esa Aromaa
    • 3
  • Jaap Van Weeghel
    • 5
    • 6
  • Mariangela Lanfredi
    • 7
  • Judit Harangozó
    • 8
  • Kristian Wahlbeck
    • 9
  • Graham Thornicroft
    • 10
  • the ASPEN Study Group
  1. 1.Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, Section of PsychiatryUniversity of VeronaVeronaItaly
  2. 2.Department of Public Health and Primary Care, Cambridge Institute of Public HealthUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK
  3. 3.Mental Health Promotion UnitNational Institute for Health and Welfare (THL)VaasaFinland
  4. 4.Department of Social Policy and Social WorkUniversity of YorkYorkUK
  5. 5.Kenniscentrum PhrenosUtrechtThe Netherlands
  6. 6.TRANZO DepartmentTilburg UniversityTilburgThe Netherlands
  7. 7.Unit of PsychiatryIRCCS Istituto Centro San Giovanni di Dio Fatebenefratelli BresciaBresciaItaly
  8. 8.Awakenings FoundationBudapestHungary
  9. 9.The Finnish Association for Mental HealthHelsinkiFinland
  10. 10.Health Service and Population Research Department, Institute of PsychiatryKing’s CollegeLondonUK

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