Social capital and health outcomes among older adults in China: The urban-rural dimension

Julie A. Norstrand, Qingwen Xu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Purpose: This study examines different types of individual-level social capital (bonding, bridging, and linking) and their relationships with physical and emotional health among older Chinese living in urban and rural settings. Design and Methods: Using the 2005 China General Social Survey, physical and emotional health were regressed on social capital controlling for sociodemographic variables by urban and rural Chinese aged 65 years and older. Results: Bonding social capital was significantly associated with physical and emotional health (β =.14; p <.001 and β =.11; p <.01, respectively), and linking social capital was significantly associated with physical health (β =.11; p <.01) among the urban older Chinese. No significant associations between social capital measures and health were found among rural elders. Implications: The relationship between social capital and health outcomes should take into account geographical setting. Efforts to increase social capital in the hope of decreasing health disparity might be inadequate without eliminating China's unique rural-urban distinction in distributing economic and social resources. Further conceptualization of social capital may be required for the Eastern context.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)325-334
Number of pages10
JournalGerontologist
Volume52
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2012

Keywords

  • Bonding
  • Bridging and linking capital
  • China General Social Survey
  • Physical and eemotional health
  • Urban-rural dwelling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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