Neighbourhood Social Capital and Individual Mental Health

  • Gindo Tampubolon


There is a long tradition of interest in neighbourhood effects from within the literature on public health and social epidemiology, which focuses on effects on individual health outcomes. This chapter investigates the relationship between neighbourhood social capital and individual mental health, and uses a formal econometric approach in an attempt to identify causal neighbourhood effects. The chapter contributes to the literature on neighbourhood effects and health outcomes by proposing an extension of the influential Grossman model of health with the explicit inclusion of interactions within the neighbourhood context. The chapter draws upon the Blume-Brock-Durlauf social interaction model to study the effect of neighbourhood social capital on mental health, using data from the Welsh Health Survey 2007 (WHS) and the Living in Wales 2007 (LiW) survey. The chapter proposes various instrumental variables to identify causal effects, uses objective measures of neighbourhood social capital for small geographies, and uses a measure of mental health derived from the SF36 (Short Form Heath Survey). Using this approach, and contrary to some other studies, it is concluded that neighbourhood social capital is generally being beneficial to individual mental health.


Social Capital Neighbourhood Effect Neighbourhood Context Social Utility Neighbourhood Deprivation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



I thank the Welsh Assembly Government – Llywodraeth Cynulliad Cymru – for funding this work. Data used in this analysis are provided by the Government under contract designed to protect the anonymity of respondents and neighbourhoods. Ichiro Kawachi and Subu Subramanian have been especially generous with their ideas for which I am in debt. I am also grateful to the participants of the seminar series “Neighbourhood Effects” and in particular to Maarten van Ham and David Manley who organised the series.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Social ChangeThe University of ManchesterManchesterUK

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