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ERIC Number: EJ785664
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Reference Count: 27
Social Capital and Health in a Digital Society
Sharif, Behjat A.
Health Educator, v39 n1 p31-37 Spr 2007
Quality of life is directly influenced by the quality of social relationships. Social capital, a reflection of the cohesiveness of social networks, is considered a significant determinant of health outcomes. Among social beings, lack of quality social connections correlates with poor health consequences. Membership in social networks and social bonds enhance individual's self-worth and self-esteem, and improve access to information, resources and support critical to well being. Moreover, communities with higher levels of social capital demonstrate higher levels of trust, reciprocity, caring association and a social environment that is conducive to health. Recent technological advances such as the Internet have largely replaced the need for face-to-face interactions. The increasingly fast pace of our society has undermined social relationships and thus is accountable for declining levels of social capital. As collaboration gives way to competition, autonomy, and self-sufficiency, individuals are becoming increasingly isolated with suffering health outcomes. It is essential for health educators to bolster levels of social capital through interventions that address declining social connectivity, by promoting healthy relationships and a greater sense of community. The purpose of this article is to discuss declining social capital and health outcomes in light of increasing automation in the United States and make suggestions for health education interventions.
Descriptors: Health Education, Well Being, Access to Information, Social Environment, Social Networks, Social Capital, Quality of Life, Self Esteem, Self Concept, Intervention, Interpersonal Relationship, Technological Advancement, Internet
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
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