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BMC Public Health. 2012; 12: 188.
Published online Mar 13, 2012. doi:  10.1186/1471-2458-12-188
PMCID: PMC3352053
A cross-sectional description of social capital in an international sample of persons living with HIV/AIDS (PLWH)
Allison Webel,corresponding author1 J Craig Phillips,2 Carol Dawson Rose,3 William L Holzemer,4 Wei-Ti Chen,5 Lynda Tyer-Viola,6 Marta Rivero-Méndez,7 Patrice Nicholas,8 Kathleen Nokes,9 Jeanne Kemppainen,10 Elizabeth Sefcik,11 John Brion,12 Lucille Eller,4 Scholastika Iipinge,13 Kenn Kirksey,14 Dean Wantland,4 Puangtip Chaiphibalsarisdi,15 Mallory O Johnson,16 Carmen Portillo,17 Inge B Corless,6 Joachim Voss,18 and Robert A Salata19
1Clinical Research Scholar, Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing Case Western Reserve University, 10900 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44106-4904, USA
2University of British Columbia School of Nursing, Vancouver, Canada
3University of California, San Francisco School of Nursing, San Francisco, USA
4Rutgers College of Nursing, Newark, USA
5Yale University, New Haven, USA
6MGH Institute of Health Professions, Boston, USA
7University of Puerto Rico, San Juan, Puerto Rico
8Global Health and Academic Partnerships, Brigham and Women's Hospital and MGH, Institute of Health Professions, Boston, USA
9Hunter College, CUNY, Hunter Bellevue SON, New York, USA
10University of North Carolina Wilmington, Wilmington, USA
11Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, Corpus Christi, USA
12Duke University School of Nursing, Durham, USA
13University of Namibia, Windhoek, Namibia
14Center for Nursing Research, Seton Family of Hospitals, Austin, USA
15Suan Sunandha Rajabhat University, Bangkok, Thailand
16UCSF, San Francisco, USA
17UCSF School of Nursing - Community Health Systems, San Francisco, USA
18University of Washington, Saettle, USA
19Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases and HIV Medicine, Case Western Reserve University, University Hospitals Case Medical Center, Cleveland, USA
corresponding authorCorresponding author.
Allison Webel: allison.webel/at/case.edu; J Craig Phillips: Craig.phillips/at/nursing.ubc.ca; Carol Dawson Rose: Carol.dawson-rose/at/ucsf.edu; William L Holzemer: Holzemer/at/rutgers.edu; Wei-Ti Chen: wei-ti.chen/at/yale.edu; Lynda Tyer-Viola: ltyerviola/at/partners.org; Marta Rivero-Méndez: marta.rivero1/at/upr.edu; Patrice Nicholas: pnicholas/at/mghihp.edu; Kathleen Nokes: knokes/at/hunter.cuny.edu; Jeanne Kemppainen: kemppainenj/at/uncw.edu; Elizabeth Sefcik: elizabeth.sefick/at/tamucc.edu; John Brion: john.brion/at/duke.edu; Lucille Eller: eller/at/rutgers.edu; Scholastika Iipinge: siipinge/at/unam.na; Kenn Kirksey: kmkirksey/at/seton.org; Dean Wantland: dwantlan/at/rutgers.edu; Puangtip Chaiphibalsarisdi: puangtip.c/at/chula.ac.th; Mallory O Johnson: mallory.johnson/at/ucsf.edu; Carmen Portillo: carmen.portillo/at/ucsf.edu; Inge B Corless: icorless/at/mghihp.edu; Joachim Voss: vossj/at/uw.edu; Robert A Salata: ras7/at/case.edu
Received October 26, 2011; Accepted March 13, 2012.
Abstract
Background
Social capital refers to the resources linked to having a strong social network. This concept plays into health outcomes among People Living with HIV/AIDS because, globally, this is a highly marginalized population. Case studies show that modifying social capital can lead to improvements in HIV transmission and management; however, there remains a lack of description or definition of social capital in international settings. The purpose of our paper was to describe the degree of social capital in an international sample of adults living with HIV/AIDS.
Methods
We recruited PLWH at 16 sites from five countries including Canada, China, Namibia, Thailand, and the United States. Participants (n = 1,963) completed a cross-sectional survey and data were collected between August, 2009 and December, 2010. Data analyses included descriptive statistics, factor analysis, and correlational analysis.
Results
Participant's mean age was 45.2 years, most (69%) identified as male, African American/Black (39.9%), and unemployed (69.5%). Total mean social capital was 2.68 points, a higher than average total social capital score. Moderate correlations were observed between self-reported physical (r = 0.25) and psychological condition (r = 0.36), social support (r = 0.31), and total social capital. No relationships between mental health factors, including substance use, and social capital were detected.
Conclusions
This is the first report to describe levels of total social capital in an international sample of PLWH and to describe its relationship to self-reported health in this population.
Keywords: Social capital, HIV/AIDS, Global health, Social science
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