Social Capital as a Mediator and Moderator in the Association between Loneliness and Health, Israel as a Case Study

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Abstract

Loneliness has been associated with poor health. Social capital (SC) could possibly prevent the ill effects of loneliness. The study aims to assess the association of loneliness with physical and mental health in four different communities in Israel and study the impact of structural and cognitive SC on that association. A cross-sectional face-to-face survey with 4620 adults in four towns was conducted. The questionnaire included self-rated health (SRH), mental health (MH), loneliness, cognitive and structural SC and socioeconomic characteristics. Logistic regression analysis and mediation and moderation effects were calculated. Loneliness was associated with worse SRH (OR = 0.4–0.5) and worse MH (OR = 2.0–10). Both SC variables were associated with health. However, towns differ in these associations. Structural SC serves as a significant mediator between loneliness and SRH in all towns and is a mediator between loneliness and MH in two towns. Cognitive social capital was a moderator between loneliness and MH in two towns. This study suggests that increasing SC could possibly compensate for loneliness and buffer its effect on health. The study reinforces the need for the performance of separate health profiles to assess possible interventions for each community, as not always can we generalize these results to all communities.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3698
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume19
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The local authorities and the Healthy Cities Network funded the data collection.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

Keywords

  • Arabs
  • Cognitive
  • Jews
  • Loneliness
  • Psychosomatic symptoms
  • Self-rated health
  • Social capital
  • Structural

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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