Trustful societies, trustful individuals, and health: An analysis of self-rated health and social trust using the World Value Survey

M-H Jen, E R Sund, RJ Johnston, K Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This study analyses the relationships between self-rated health and both individual and mean national social trust, focusing on a variant of Wilkinson’s hypothesis that individuals will be less healthy the greater the lack of social cohesion in a country. It employs multilevel modelling on World Values Survey data across 69 countries with a total sample of 160,436 individuals. The results show that self-rated health are positively linked to social trust at both country and individual levels after controlling for individual socio-demographic and income variables plus individual social trust; increased trust is associated with better health. Moreover, this analysis of social trust gives some insight into distinctive results for the former Soviet Bloc countries, which have high reported levels of poor health, alongside the Scandinavian countries which have high levels of trust and better health situations. Our results support and extend the Wilkinson hypothesis that the level of trust, an indicator of social cohesion, is predictive of individuals’ health.
Translated title of the contributionTrustful societies, trustful individuals, and health: An analysis of self-rated health and social trust using the World Value Survey
Original languageEnglish
Article numberIssue 5
Pages (from-to)1022 - 1029
Number of pages7
JournalHealth and Place
Volume16
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2010

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