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Neighbourhood social capital and oral health in adolescents

Pattussi, Marcos Pascoal; (2004) Neighbourhood social capital and oral health in adolescents. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Background: Social capital refers to features of social organization, such as norms and networks that enable people to act together and more effectively to pursue common goals. A growing body of evidence suggests that communities with high levels of social capital have better health. However, this association has been unexplored in relation to oral health. Objective and Hypothesis: The main objective of this study was to investigate the association between social capital and oral health. It was hypothesised that the prevalence of traumatic dental injuries, poor self-rated oral health and high dental caries levels was negatively associated with social capital. Methods: A multilevel study was designed to assess individual and neighbourhood effects on oral health of 1302 14/15 year-old adolescents in 39 schools of Distrito Federal, Brazil. Four sources of data were used: (1) clinical dental examinations, (2) students' questionnaires, (3) parents' questionnaires, and (4) census data. Data analysis used logistic multilevel modelling in two levels: students (sources 1 and 2) and neighbourhood as defined by catchment areas of schools (sources 3 and 4). Results: The hypothesis was partially confirmed. Dental injuries, poor self-rated oral health and high DMFT were significantly lower in areas with higher social capital levels after controlling for area and individual level factors. Results were stronger for boys than for girls for dental injuries. The relationship between self- rated oral health and social capital became non-significant after adjusting for poverty and social class. The empowerment sub-scale of the social capital index was negatively associated with dental caries experience. This study suggests that social capital may play an important role in explaining inequalities in oral health.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Neighbourhood social capital and oral health in adolescents
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Health and environmental sciences; Oral health; Social capital
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10109692
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