Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name



Social Work


Sociology, Public and Social Welfare.


Nakhaie, M. Reza,




Studies have shown that various aspects of the social environment are useful predictors of individual physical and mental health. A large body of epidemiological literature has documented the nature of the relationship between social class, or socio-economic status (SES) and health. Recently, however, the benefits of resources inherent in the structures of social networks, or "social capital", for preventing illness or disease and for achieving health, have been the focus of contemporary epidemiological research. The purpose of this study is to investigate social capital and SES as frameworks for understanding the influence of individual social context on adult health. The data source is the National Population Health Survey (NPHS) with responses from 54,072 Canadians aged 25 years and older, collected in 1996 by Statistics Canada. Social capital includes levels of social support, social involvement, civic participation, as well as residential stability, while level of education, occupation status, and household income serve as indicators of SES. Ordinary least squares regression indicated that moderate, albeit inconsistent, evidence exists for the influence of social capital on chronic health problems and self-rated health status. Social capital appears to best predict psychological distress among the NPHS sample. Secondary findings suggest that certain elements of social capital are important predictors of the risk of being diagnosed with various chronic health problems, particularly with asthma. Furthermore, the results support findings from previous studies that suggest social capital is best able to predict health among men and the elderly in Canada. Finally, evidence is found for the interaction of social capital and socio-economic status in predicting various measures of health. The findings reported in this research suggest that healthy social policies that address these social-cultural and socio-environmental factors, warrant consideration.Dept. of Sociology and Anthropology. Paper copy at Leddy Library: Theses & Major Papers - Basement, West Bldg. / Call Number: Thesis2002 .S63. Source: Masters Abstracts International, Volume: 41-04, page: 0974. Adviser: M. Reza Nakhaie. Thesis (M.A.)--University of Windsor (Canada), 2002.