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The relationship of different sources of social support and civic participation with self‐rated health

Hugo C. van Woerden (Honorary Research Fellow in the Department of Primary Care & Public Health, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK)
Wouter Poortinga (Senior Lecturer in the Welsh School of Architecture, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK)
Karin Bronstering (Research Associate in the Welsh School of Architecture, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK)
Anupam Garrib (Public Health Strategist in the Health Department, Wandsworth Teaching PCT, London, UK)
Aseel Hegazi (Based in the Health Department, Wandsworth Teaching PCT, London, UK)

Journal of Public Mental Health

ISSN: 1746-5729

Article publication date: 16 September 2011

Abstract

Purpose

Social support from different sources is beneficial for health and often helps individuals to cope with stress and illness. The aim of this paper is to simultaneously examine the effects of social support from personal, professional, and community networks and other factors in relation to health.

Design/methodology/approach

A cross sectional postal and web‐based survey was undertaken to examine these relationships in a random sample of 10,000 households in Wandsworth, London. Social support variables were standardized by calculating Z‐scores and the relationship with health was modelled using a series of regression models.

Findings

The response rate was 22.8 per cent. This study found that “social support from family”, “social support from friends”, “social support at work”, and “civic participation” were associated with a lower likelihood of poor self‐rated health, but that social support from neighbours was associated with a higher likelihood of reporting poor health. The results suggest that most of the health effects of social support are supplementary. However, the finding that the health effects of social support from family disappear after controlling for the other social support variables, suggests that it can be compensated for by support from other sources. Socio‐economic variables such as gender, age, being married, employment, and home ownership were also associated with better self‐rated health.

Originality/value

This paper extends previous analyses by demonstrating a range of interactions between self‐rated health, social support (from personal, professional, and community networks), civic participation, and socio‐economic variables. These factors have not previously been studied simultaneously.

Keywords

Citation

van Woerden, H.C., Poortinga, W., Bronstering, K., Garrib, A. and Hegazi, A. (2011), "The relationship of different sources of social support and civic participation with self‐rated health", Journal of Public Mental Health, Vol. 10 No. 3, pp. 126-139. https://doi.org/10.1108/17465721111175010

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited