Social Capital, Civic Engagement and Self-Reported Health and Well-Being in Ghana

Winfred A. Avogo, Illinois State University

This study employs data from southern Ghana to examine whether higher stocks of social capital through participation in civic groups matter in self-reported health and subjective assessment of household well-being. Drawing on Putnam's conceptualization of social capital, we compare social support, social control, direct participation in and reproductive health discussions within voluntary associations on self-rated health and household well-being. We find that social support and encouragement to use family planning significantly predict self-rated good health and household well-being, while social control and direct participation does not. Also, we detect that while social control is associated with the likelihood of reporting health problems within the last six months; direct participation in voluntary groups is significantly associated with reporting less health problems. We situate the findings in the broader context of the nuanced role social capital plays in health outcomes and discuss their implications for health promotion programs in resource constrained settings.

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Presented in Poster Session 7