Social Indicators Research

, Volume 121, Issue 1, pp 195–214 | Cite as

The Influence of Social Capital on Individual Health: Is it the Neighbourhood or the Network?

  • Sigrid M. MohnenEmail author
  • Beate Völker
  • Henk Flap
  • S. V. Subramanian
  • Peter P. Groenewegen


We examined the influence of both individual and neighbourhood social capital on individual health and analysed whether effects of one type of social capital are contingent upon the other. The Dutch ‘Housing and Living Survey’ (WoON 2006, n = 53,269) was used and combined with information on neighbourhoods (n = 3,273). Using an ecometric approach to estimate neighbourhood social capital, we found that both types of capital were associated with health. In addition, those who have only few contacts with friends and relatives have nevertheless a good health if they have much neighbourhood social capital. The findings demonstrate the potential importance of both types of social capital and the possibility of compensation of one type of social capital by the other one.


Social capital Neighborhood Ecometrics Self-rated health Netherlands 



We would like to thank the Data Archiving and Networked Services (DANS) for making our free use of WoON 2006 possible. We thank Dr. Wouter Steenbeek (Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement, Amsterdam) for his help with applying ecometrics. The article benefited from comments by Interuniversity Center for Social Science Theory and Methodology (ICS) colleagues at ‘Forum days’.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sigrid M. Mohnen
    • 1
    Email author
  • Beate Völker
    • 2
  • Henk Flap
    • 2
  • S. V. Subramanian
    • 3
  • Peter P. Groenewegen
    • 2
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Quality of Care and Health EconomicsNational Institute of Public Health and the Environment (RIVM)BilthovenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of Sociology/ICSUtrecht UniversityUtrechtThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Department of Social and Behavioral SciencesHarvard School of Public HealthBostonUSA
  4. 4.Netherlands Institute for Health Services Research (NIVEL)UtrechtThe Netherlands

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