Development of an instrument for community-level health related social capital among Japanese older people: The JAGES Project

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    • Saito Masashige
    • Department of Social Welfare, Nihon Fukushi University|Center for Well-being and Society, Nihon Fukushi University
    • Kondo Naoki
    • Department of Health and Social Behavior, School of Public Health, The University of Tokyo
    • Aida Jun
    • Department of International and Community Oral Health, Tohoku University Graduate School of Dentistry
    • Kawachi Ichiro
    • Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Harvard School of Public Health
    • Koyama Shihoko
    • Department of International and Community Oral Health, Tohoku University Graduate School of Dentistry
    • Ojima Toshiyuki
    • Department of Community Health and Preventive Medicine, Hamamatsu University School of Medicine
    • Kondo Katsunori
    • Center for Well-being and Society, Nihon Fukushi University|Center for Preventive Medical Sciences, Chiba University|Center for Gerontology and Social Science, National Center for Geriatrics and Gerontology


<p><i>Background:</i> We developed and validated an instrument to measure community-level social capital based on data derived from older community dwellers in Japan.</p><p><i>Methods:</i> We used cross-sectional data from the Japan Gerontological Evaluation Study, a nationwide survey involving 123,760 functionally independent older people nested within 702 communities (i.e., school districts). We conducted exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses on survey items to determine the items in a multi-dimensional scale to measure community social capital. Internal consistency was checked with Cronbach's alpha. Convergent construct validity was assessed via correlating the scale with health outcomes.</p><p><i>Results:</i> From 53 candidate variables, 11 community-level variables were extracted: participation in volunteer groups, sports groups, hobby activities, study or cultural groups, and activities for teaching specific skills; trust, norms of reciprocity, and attachment to one's community; received emotional support; provided emotional support; and received instrumental support. Using factor analysis, these variables were determined to belong to three sub-scales: civic participation (eigenvalue = 3.317, α = 0.797), social cohesion (eigenvalue = 2.633, α = 0.853), and reciprocity (eigenvalue = 1.424, α = 0.732). Confirmatory factor analysis indicated the goodness of fit of this model. Multilevel Poisson regression analysis revealed that civic participation score was robustly associated with individual subjective health (Self-Rated Health: prevalence ratio [PR] 0.96; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.94–0.98; Geriatric Depression Scale [GDS]: PR 0.95; 95% CI, 0.93–0.97). Reciprocity score was also associated with individual GDS (PR 0.98; 95% CI, 0.96–1.00). Social cohesion score was not consistently associated with individual health indicators.</p><p><i>Conclusions:</i> Our scale for measuring social capital at the community level might be useful for future studies of older community dwellers.</p>


  • Journal of Epidemiology

    Journal of Epidemiology 27(5), 221-227, 2017

    Japan Epidemiological Association


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