Recent reports suggest that integration of social capital construct into public health will continue to increase as a part of the public health vernacular. The growing use of social capital construct invites reflections on how emerging communication technology reshapes relationships and social health outcomes. Empirically, public health scholars have privileged communitarian definitions of social capital and marginalized network of health consequences due to the digital divides. Such practices limit the way public health measures social capital’s effects on individual health and collective outcomes. The application of social capital constructs requires public health scholars to utilize seminal information to provide skills that shape habits conducive to health. This will elevate the prominence and validity of social capital as a theoretical and methodological approach to advancing public health.
This presentation discusses current issues related to social capital and makes policy suggestions to improve public health. Significant findings are highlighted such as the index of collective efficacy (social cohesion and social control) as being inversely associated with neighborhood violence, homicide rates and other high risk behaviors. Analysis includes the impact of computer and Internet use on civic engagement, interpersonal trust and contentment. Further analysis are presented to suggest that social capital is related to Internet use among Generation X, while it is tied to television use among Baby Boomers and newspaper use among the members of the Civic Generation. More stringent analysis indicates consideration of influential factors such as demographic and contextual variables to alleviate social disconnections in increasingly digital-connected society.
|Keywords:||Digital Society, Social Capital, Relationships, Public Health|
Professor, Health Science Department, California State University, Los Angeles, CA, USA