The Effect of Social Capital on Smoking-Related Behavior Among the Poor in South Korea
Posted: 20 Jun 2007
Background: The poor tend to be passive in adopting health promotional behaviors like smoking cessation and accumulating their social capital.
Objective: This study aims to investigate the effect of social capital on smoking-related behavior among the poor in an urban area in South Korea.
Methods: Face-to-face interview survey was carried out in Joongwon-Gu, Seongnam-Si in May 2006. A total of 350 residents were sampled from the poor under the national poverty line. Smoking-related behaviors were classified into one of three categories: "smoking currently," "stopped smoking for less than 6 months" and "stopped smoking for more than 6 months or never smoked." Social capital was measured by asking poor persons' trust in their neighbor, community and institution. An ordered probit regression model was used to assess the association of different aspects of social capital and smoking-related behavior. After endogeneity of social capital was tested using Hausman's method, two-stage least squares method was used for the regression.
Results: Some socio-economic variables (e.g., gender, marital status, household density) and cognitive factors (e.g., perception on the benefits of health promotional behaviors) were associated with non-smoking or smoking cessation. However, even after controlling these variables, non-smoking or smoking cessation was positively associated with the social capital of the poor.
Conclusion: Increasing the poor's social capital is expected to contribute to keeping the poor from smoking, and consequently to their health.
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