J Agric Med Community Health.  2012 Sep;37(3):131-144.

The Associations of Empowerment and Social Capital with Self-Rated Health in Communities with Poor Health

  • 1Department of Preventive Medicine, School of Medicine and Institute of Health Sciences, Gyeongsang National University, Korea. jrkim@gnu.ac.kr


This study was performed to identify the associations of empowerment and social capital (such as social participation and trust) with self-rated health in Korean communities with poor health.
This study used the data from community health interviews conducted at 29 administrative sections (dong, eup, or myeon) with high mortality from August to October in both 2010 and 2011 as part of the Health Plus Happiness Plus Projects in Gyeongsangnam-do Province. The study subjects comprised 6,383 individuals composed of approximately 220 adults randomly sampled from each administrative section. The empowerment was measured with five-point Likert scale responses to seven perceived control questions (two at the individual level, five at the community level). The social participation was measured with 'participation in formal and/or informal group' and trust using responses to three questions about trust of others.
The high empowerment scores at both individual and community levels, social participation in informal groups, and high trust level had independent and significant associations with good self-rated health after adjusting for socio-demographic factors (sex, age, marital status, occupation, and food affordability) and health behaviors (smoking, alcohol drinking, and exercise) in the logistic regressions. There were weak but significant associations among empowerment, social participation, and trust levels.
Empowerment, social participation, and trust were weakly inter-related and significantly associated with self-rated health. More studies are warranted for empowerment and other social capital indices in health promotion.


Empowerment; Social participation; Trust; Community organization; Self-rated health
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