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The Value of Social Capital: A cross-sectional study of Swedish high school student's social capital and its association with lifestyle factors, psychological well-being and academic achievement.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences.
2011 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Background: Many of today’s young adults suffer from impaired psychological well-being and report suffering from psycho-somatic symptoms related to stress. Lifestyle factors, such as smoking, risky alcohol consumption, lack of physical activity and poor diet are known predictors of ill health and may have long lasting impacts on young people’s lives. Aim: The aim of this thesis was to 1: measure adult high school students’ social capital and 2: examine the association between their social capital and psychological well-being as well as the association between social capital and the lifestyle factors; smoking, alcohol consumption, physical activity, diet and academic achievement. Methods: Questionnaires were used to measure high school students’ social capital self- rated psychological health, lifestyle factors and academic achievement. Participants were high school students 18 years and older (n=124) enrolled in Nacka Enskilda Gymnasium and Mörby Gymnasium, two high schools in counties with similar demographic backgrounds, measured in annual salaries, on the outskirts of Stockholm, Sweden. Results: Total social capital was significantly associated with no less than 6 factors of health; self-rated mental health, self-rated stress, psycho-somatic symptoms, intensive physical exercise, consumption of fruit and membership to a club. In addition, consumption of vegetables and expected grade point average (Grade point average (GPA): final GPA’s in Sweden range from 0-20) were significantly associated with individual factors of social capital. Conclusion: The results of this study support the findings of many earlier studies; that social capital appears to be significantly associated with young peoples’ health and well-being. The findings lend weight to earlier studies and contribute to the multitude of voices that lobby for investing in the further development of policies and interventions that aim to increase young peoples’ social capital. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. , 65 p.
Keyword [en]
Social capital, lifestyle factors, VIP, mental health, self-rated health, adolescent
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-155414OAI: diva2:425937
Subject / course
Public Health
Educational program
Master Programme in Public Health
Available from: 2011-06-22 Created: 2011-06-22 Last updated: 2011-06-22Bibliographically approved

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