Structural and cognitive aspects of social capital and all-cause mortality: a meta-analysis ofcCohort studies

Fredrica Nyqvist, Bernd Pape, Tony Pellfolk, Anna Forsman, Kristian Wahlbeck

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    87 Citations (Scopus)


    Social capital covers different characteristics such as social networks, social participation, social support and trust. The aim of this study was to explore which aspects of social capital were predictive of mortality. Criteria for inclusion in the meta-analysis were: population based observational cohort studies (follow-up a parts per thousand yen5 years); study sample included the adult population; parts of social capital as the primary exposure variable of interest; reported a mortality outcome; and sample size > 1,000 individuals. Twenty studies provided eligible data for the meta-analyses. A random effect model was used to estimate the combined overall hazard rate ratio effects of structural social capital such as social participation and social networks, and cognitive social capital including social support and trust in relation to mortality. The results showed that social participation and social networks were negatively associated with mortality. The impact of social networks attenuated somewhat when controlling for gender and age. While trust also appeared to be negatively associated with mortality, we remain cautious with this conclusion, since only two studies provided eligible data. Perceived social support failed to show a significant impact upon mortality. The findings suggest that people who engage socially and report frequent contacts with friends and family live longer.
    Original languageUndefined/Unknown
    Pages (from-to)545–566
    Number of pages22
    JournalSocial Indicators Research
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2014
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • All-cause mortality
    • Cohort studies
    • Meta-analysis
    • Social capital

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