How does Social Capital impact healthcare?

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For some time now, the term Social Capital has been used.

What does this mean?

Social Capital is the trusting relationships, with shared values and goals that a person has developed or cultivated. Simply put, Social Capital is the community or individual relationships that provide help, support, and resources.

Why is this important in healthcare?

Social Capital in healthcare can create healthcare engagement, advocacy, support, access to information, and care navigation.

In this Japanese study looking at Social Capital and oral health, they found a correlation between Individual-level and Community-level Social Capital, and low risk of tooth loss.

Factors that explain the impact of Social Capital include health-promoting behaviors across the community, better health behaviors by social influence factors, reduced psychological stress in community members; thereby leading to less health neglect, and access to dental clinics in communities with a strong Social Capital.

How to build Social Capital

  • Participate in community programs
  • Volunteer in community programs
  • Join support groups
  • Join social groups or communities online and offline
  • Be a helpful resource to someone


Koyama S, Aida J, Saito M, et al Community social capital and tooth loss in Japanese older people: a longitudinal cohort studyBMJ Open 2016;6:e010768. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2015-010768


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