Social Capital, Positive and Negative Feelings and Life Evaluation: A Cross-National Examination

Yuhui Zheng, Harvard University
Santosh Kumar, University of Washington
Lisa Berkman, Harvard School of Public Health

Previous research has examined the association between social capital (social support, volunteering activities, and social trust) and multiple dimensions of subjective well-being (life evaluation, positive and negative feelings) in developed countries. This study explores whether this association extends to low and middle income countries. Using individual level data from the Gallup World Poll we investigate associations between individual social capital measures and ordinal measures of subjective well-being in 142 countries. Proportional odds ratios are estimated using ordered logit models with country fixed effects, adjusting for socio-demographic characteristics. Stratified analyses by country level income, geographic regions, and each country are also performed. Results indicate that, for diverse regions and a large number of countries, associations of social support and social trust with subjective well-being are positive and significant, however no such consistent associations are observed for volunteering and negative feelings score in many countries.

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Presented in Session 18: Social Capital, Aging, and Well-Being