Social capital, civic engagement, and self-rated health in Ghana

Winfred A Avogo


This study uses data from southern Ghana to examine whether higher stocks of social capital through participation in civic groups matter for self-rated health. Drawing on social capital, the influence of social support, informal social control, direct participation in and reproductive health discussions within voluntary associations on self-rated health and reporting illnesses in the last six months prior to the survey are investigated. The findings show that social support and encouragement to use family planning significantly predict self-rated better health while informal social control and direct participation does not. Also, it is detected that while social control is associated with the likelihood of reporting illnesses within the last six months; direct participation in voluntary groups has the opposite effect. Lastly, women had lower predicted probabilities of self-rated better health and higher probabilities of reporting illnesses in the last six months than men. The findings are discussed in context of the nuanced role of social capital on health and their implications for health promotion programs in resource constrained settings.


Social capital; Community organizations; Voluntary associations; Self-rated health; Sub-Saharan Africa

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ISSN 2308-7854 (online); ISSN 0850-5780 (print)

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