We investigate the impact of social capital on mental and physical health in the UK. Data from the British Household Panel Survey were obtained on individual-level social capital (social participation, friends contact, and social support) and health status (perceived mental and physical health). Our analysis suggests that permanent friend contact is positively (negatively) associated with mental (physical) health whilst social support is positively associated with both mental and physical health. We also find that initial health status exerts a greater bearing on subsequent health outcomes than previous health status and that there are systematic differences in health mobility across socio-economic groups. We conclude that that short-term social support reduces the probability of recovery from mental or physical illness and that long-term friend contact and social support are important determinants of mental and physical health.
|Bath Economics Research Working Papers