Evidence from existing studies suggests social capital has mixed effects on depression and other common mental disorders. There is little knowledge of the possible association between social capital and depression among the growing older population in sub-Saharan Africa. This study investigates the effect of cognitive social capital (trust and sense of safety) and structural social capital (social participation or engagement in social activities) on depression among older adults in Ghana. Utilizing multilevel mixed-effect analysis, we investigate the effect of individual-level and neighborhood-level social capital (cognitive and structural) on depression using data from the World Health Organization Study on Global Ageing and Adult Health (WHO-SAGE) survey (Wave 1). The findings show that at an individual level, older adults who felt safe at home were less likely to have depression. We observed mixed results for elements of structural social capital at the individual level. Older adults who frequently engaged in club or group meetings, worked with neighbors and engaged in social outings were more likely to have depression; while attending public meetings and socializing with co-workers were associated with reduced likelihood of having depression. At the neighborhood level, increased trust in neighbors was associated with an increased likelihood of having depression (OR = 1.01, p < 0.05) while higher levels of neighborhood safety and structural social capital were associated with a reduced likelihood of having depression. The findings suggest that the differential associations between elements of social capital and depression may be the result of contextual factors.
- chronic health
- individual-level social capital
- neighborhood-level social capital
- socioeconomic status
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health(social science)
- Geriatrics and Gerontology