Social capital

What is social capital?

Social capital is the resources available to individuals and communities through their social connections. It describes two key aspects to social relationships: (i) a structural aspect such as the extent and intensity of relationship links and activity in the community; and (ii) a cognitive aspect such as people’s perceptions of trust, reciprocity and sharing. Characteristics of social capital include community and personal networks; civic engagement and participation; local identity with a sense of belonging, solidarity and equality with other members; reciprocity and cooperation with a sense of obligation to help others and confidence in return of such help; and trust in the community. High levels of social capital are thought to be a protective factor for mental illness in general. It is suggested that communities high in social capital are likely to promote healthy behaviour and that social cohesion or connectedness has a positive effect on mental health.

What is the evidence for social capital?

Low quality evidence is uncertain as to the relationship between social capital and rates of schizophrenia.

March 2019

Last updated at: 5:08 am, 16th March 2019
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Title Colour Legend:
Green - Topic summary is available.
Orange - Topic summary is being compiled.
Red - Topic summary has no current systematic review available.