Social Indicators Research

, Volume 130, Issue 2, pp 665–685 | Cite as

Social Capital and Self Perceived Health Among European Older Adults

  • Maria Felice Arezzo
  • Cristina Giudici


There is increasing interest among researchers in the effects of social capital on the health of older adults. One of the key policy question for an ageing population concerns how do we identify the factors that influence health. Very recently, an increasing interest on social capital as a key determinant for health has developed and, surprisingly, not much is known for the European population. This paper analyzes the association between social capital and self-perceived health among older adults in Europe using a mixed effects logistic model. Social capital is considered in its two components—bonding and bridging—in order to understand if the relations inside or outside an individual inner circle have a different association with health. Our results give empirical support to the role of individual social capital in preventing a poor self-perceived health. This means that social capital, especially the bridging component of it, can be one of the key factors of ageing in good health and should be fostered by policy makers in order to give an answer to one of the most compelling challenge of our century: population ageing.


Health Older adults Social capital Mixed effects logistic model Europe Country differences 



We would like to thank the anonymous referees for their precious comments which allowed to greatly improve our work. This paper uses data from SHARE Wave 4 (DOI:  10.6103/SHARE.w4.111). The SHARE data collection has been primarily funded by the European Commission through the FP5 (QLK6-CT-2001-00360), FP6 (SHARE-I3: RII-CT-2006-062193, COMPARE: CIT5-CT-2005-028857, SHARELIFE: CIT4-CT-2006-028812) and FP7 (SHARE-PREP: N°211909, SHARE-LEAP: N°227822, SHARE M4: N°261982). Additional funding from the German Ministry of Education and Research, the U.S. National Institute on Aging (U01_AG09740-13S2, P01_AG005842, P01_AG08291, P30_AG12815, R21_AG025169, Y1-AG-4553-01, IAG_BSR06-11, OGHA_04-064) and from various national funding sources is gratefully acknowledged (see


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Methods and Models for Economics, Territory and Finance (MEMOTEF)Sapienza University of RomeRomeItaly

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