Social Capital Associated with Quality of Life Mediated by Employment Experiences: Evidence from a Random Sample of Rural-to-Urban Migrants in China

  • Xinguang Chen
  • Bin Yu
  • Jie Gong
  • Peigang Wang
  • Amy L. Elliott


Working-age migrants need to possess adequate social capital in order to secure a stable and satisfactory job so that they can pursue a better quality of life (QOL). The positive relationship between social capital and vocational experiences, including successful employment, has been well established. In this study we focused on testing a multi-step mediation model linking social capital with employment experiences, and further to QOL. Survey data from rural-to-urban migrants randomly selected from Wuhan, China were analyzed. Social capital, including bonding and bridging capital, was measured using the Personal Social Capital Scale; employment experiences were measured using five job-related items; and QOL was measured using the Brief Symptoms Inventory. Structural equation modeling analysis indicated that job security and job satisfaction were positively and significantly associated with QOL, and social capital measures were significantly associated with higher QOL (primarily for males). Furthermore, job security and job satisfaction fully mediated the relationship between social capital and QOL after controlling for covariates. Findings of this study suggest the significance of social capital, job security and satisfaction in improving migrants’ QOL, implying the importance of vocational experiences in mediating the effect from social capital to QOL. If the findings can be confirmed with longitudinal data, these factors should be considered in decision making to improve rural-to-urban migrants’ QOL in China.


Social capital Quality of life (QOL) Employment Domestic migrants China 



This work was supported by National Institute of Mental Health ( at National Institute of Health through a research grant [R01 MH08632, PI: XC].


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Public Health, Global Health InstituteWuhan UniversityWuhanChina
  2. 2.Department of EpidemiologyUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA
  3. 3.Wuhan Center for Disease Prevention and ControlWuhanChina

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