PURPOSE: To clarify how public health nurses evaluate the social capital (SC) of an area and clarify associations with the area's health level. METHOD: Using a five-point scale, we conducted a questionnaire survey of public health nurses (n = 70) in area B of prefecture A with questions about: (1) health behaviour; (2) the residential environment; (3) social relationships; (4) activity and responsiveness; and (5) total health level in different elementary school districts. In the same area, we also conducted a questionnaire survey of the elderly living in the community (n = 17,269) and compared the results with those of the public health nurse survey. Correlation analysis and multiple regression analysis were applied to identify associations between variables in a comparison of the two surveys. RESULTS: Correlations between the two surveys for an SC index were found, for example between (3) social relationships and "locality attachment" (r = .425, P<0.01), (3) social relationships and "meeting friends" (r = .404, P<0.01), and (4) activity and responsiveness and "receiving support" (r = .233, P< 0.05), indicating that public health nurses can determine the kind of SC that an area has. The results of multiple regression analysis, using total health level as a dependent variable and the other four variables as independent variables, showed that an area's SC (indicated by social relationships and activeness and responsiveness) can be evaluated using associations with the area's health level. Experienced public health nurses (n = 24, 11 and above service years) well captured social relationships and evaluated them in relation to health level, whereas young public health nurses (n = 46, 10 and below service years) well captured activity and responsiveness and evaluated them in relation to health level. CONCLUSION: On the basis of the results showing that public health nurses can determine an area's SC in relation to its health level, we could show using social capital theory the importance of having a public health nurse evaluate and diagnose a community's SC.
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||[Nippon kōshū eisei zasshi] Japanese journal of public health|
|Publication status||Published - 2008 Oct|
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