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Capital interplays and the self-rated health of young men: results from a cross-sectional study in Switzerland Veenstra, Gerry; Abel, Thomas Apr 18, 2015

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RESEARCHCapital interplays and theaeqstream of their sons influence the self-rated health of thesons. Inspired by the theories of Pierre Bourdieu [1-4],confers on its holder a conventional, constant and legallyguaranteed value with respect to culture. Cultural tastesVeenstra and Abel International Journal for Equity in Health  (2015) 14:38 DOI 10.1186/s12939-015-0167-xcial capital, refers to resources embedded in relationshipsDrive, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1, CanadaFull list of author information is available at the end of the articlewe use the term ‘capital’ to refer to resources for individ-ual action that are socially valued and objects of struggle.For Bourdieu, the most centrally important forms ofcapital in social life are cultural capital, economic capitaland social capital. Cultural capital refers to material andnon-material resources that originate in prevailing socialand inclinations, lasting dispositions of mind and bodythat are socially desirable and relatively rare, representan embodied form of cultural capital. Objectified cul-tural capital refers to the possession of valued culturalgoods such as books, works of art and machines that re-quire specialized cultural abilities to use. The second pri-mary form of capital, economic capital, refers to moneyand other assets such as property that can be directly con-verted into money. The third primary form of capital, so-* Correspondence: gerry.veenstra@ubc.ca1Department of Sociology, University of British Columbia, 6303 N. W. Marineeffects of parental cultural, economic and social capitals and personal educational stream on the self-rated health ofyoung Swiss men who live with their parents.Methods: We apply logistic regression modelling to self-rated health in original cross-sectional survey data collectedduring mandatory conscription of Swiss male citizens in 2010 and 2011 (n = 23,975).Results: In comparison with sons whose parents completed mandatory schooling only, sons with parents whocompleted technical college or university were significantly more likely to report very good or excellent self-ratedhealth. Parental economic capital was an important mediating factor in this regard. Number of books in the home(parental cultural capital), family economic circumstances (parental economic capital) and parental ties to influentialpeople (parental social capital) were also independently associated with the self-rated health of the sons. Although sonsin the highest educational stream tended to report better health than those in the lowest, we found little evidence fora health-producing intergenerational transmission of capitals via the education stream of the sons. Finally, the positiveassociation between personal education and self-rated health was stronger among sons with relatively poorly educatedparents and stronger among sons with parents who were relatively low in social capital.Conclusions: Our study provides empirical support for the role of capital interplays, social processes in which capitalsinterpenetrate or co-constitute one another, in the intergenerational production of the health of young men inSwitzerland.Keywords: Switzerland, Self-rated health, Education, Capitals, Capital interplaysIntroductionWe investigate whether and how the cultural, economicand social capitals of Swiss parents and the educationalsystems of values and symbols. An educational creden-tial is an institutionalized form of cultural capital thatrepresents a certificate of cultural competence whichyoung men: results fromin SwitzerlandGerry Veenstra1* and Thomas Abel2AbstractIntroduction: We apply capital interplay theory to health in© 2015 Veenstra and Abel; licensee BioMed CCommons Attribution License (http://creativecreproduction in any medium, provided the orDedication waiver (http://creativecommons.orunless otherwise stated.Open Accessself-rated health ofcross-sectional studyualities in Switzerland by investigating the interconnectedentral. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creativeommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, andiginal work is properly credited. The Creative Commons Public Domaing/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article,Veenstra and Abel International Journal for Equity in Health  (2015) 14:38 Page 2 of 10of mutual acquaintance or recognition. Access to the capi-tals held by others effectively serves to augment or en-hance an individual’s own stock of cultural and economiccapitals.Previous research indicates that each of these threedistinct forms of capital is implicated in health inequal-ities. For example, the health effects of institutionalizedcultural capital and economic capital have been exten-sively investigated under the rubric of socioeconomicstatus and health [5-8]. Embodied cultural capital hasalso received some attention in recent years [9-13] andresearch on social capital and health is now voluminous[14-16]. For the most part, these studies have docu-mented distinct health effects of the various forms ofcapital, typically finding that, all else being equal, morecapital tends to correspond with better health.Rather than treating the various capitals as conceptu-ally and empirically distinct determinants of health, wecontend that these capitals are regularly interwoven withone another in processes that produce good health. Inthis regard our study is influenced by Bourdieu’s ideaspertaining to capital conversions as well as recent dis-cussions on the health effects of what are variouslycalled capital interplays, interactions, relations or trans-formations [17-20]. Put simply, capital interplays refer tosocial processes wherein capitals interpenetrate or co-constitute one another. We hypothesize that three kindsof capital interplay are potentially pertinent for the gener-ation of good health, namely, capital acquisition interplays,capital transmission interplays and capital multiplier inter-plays. We examine each of these intergenerational pro-cesses as a generator of positive self-rated health in asample of young Swiss men collected in 2010–2011 duringthe process of mandatory conscription of eligible malecitizens.Capital acquisition interplaysCapital acquisition interplays refer to processes wherebyone form of capital facilitates the successful acquisitionof another form of capital and then good health. Capitalacquisition interplays includes processes wherein paren-tal institutionalized cultural capital facilitates acquisitionof other forms of parental capital which subsequently in-fluence the health of the children [21]. After establishinga statistical relationship between the educational creden-tials of parents and the self-rated health of their sons,we use indicators of various cultural, economic and so-cial capitals held by the parents to explicate the healtheffects of parental education.Specifically, inspired by previous research that indi-cates that the number of books in the home is a validand reliable indicator of cultural capital [22,23], we usenumber of books in the home to assess the objectifiedcultural capital possessed by the families in our study. Inthis regard we hypothesize that higher educated parentsare likely to have a relatively large number of books andthat these books add to or reflect the stock of culturalcapital in the family. If parental institutionalized culturalcapital is a guarantor of command of highbrow culture,then possessing books (objectified cultural capital) is aphysical representation of familiarity and facility with so-cial practices typical of highbrow (valued and valuable)culture. We hypothesize that this stock of cultural cap-ital subsequently facilitates the health of their sons viaassociated social practices, such as parents regularlyreading aloud to children when they are young or enrol-ling children in healthful extracurricular activities (e.g.,certain kinds of organized sporting activities). In short,number of books in the family, facilitated by parental edu-cation, is an indicator of parental cultural resources broadlywrit that function to promote the health of their sons.We use a measure of perceived financial circumstancesto assess parental economic capital. We hypothesize thatparental education is strongly related to parental eco-nomic capital due to the strong links in Swiss society be-tween educational credentials and occupations. We alsohypothesize that economic capital in families is associ-ated with the health of the sons for reasons that relate tothe material components of health-related social prac-tices, such as healthy dietary practices in the home (e.g.,good food is expensive), and to the accessibility of statussymbols (e.g., cars, clothes, practices, etc.) that can fostera sense of security and material stability.We use perceived parental connections to influentialpeople to assess the social capital of the parents. Wehypothesize that higher educated parents will tend tohave social ties to highly educated others due to theprinciple of homophily (birds of a feather flock together)and, therefore, will possess relatively influential ties. Wealso hypothesize that sons who know that they can relyon their parents’ social capital when needed and who areregularly reassured of their own high social status be-cause of the presence of these potent social ties will berelatively likely to report high levels of health as a conse-quence.Capital transmission interplaysCapital transmission interplays refer to processeswhereby one person’s portfolio of capitals is used to con-tribute to or reshape another person’s portfolio of capitalsand, accordingly, their health. This includes processeswhereby parental capital indirectly influences children’shealth via the educational stream of the children [24]. Weinvestigate whether the health effects of parental capitalsare explained by the institutionalized cultural capital ofthe sons by way of four distinct capital transmissioninterplays.Veenstra and Abel International Journal for Equity in Health  (2015) 14:38 Page 3 of 10First, we hypothesize that the sons of parents withhigher educational degrees are relatively likely to be inhigher education streams, in part because highly edu-cated parents tend to transmit to and inculcate in theirchildren norms and values that lead their children to(seek to) achieve higher educational credentials them-selves. Second, we hypothesize that parents with manybooks in the home are relatively likely to have sons inhigher education streams. Here we posit that number ofbooks in the home is an indicator of a broad range ofcultural resources representing linguistic abilities moregenerally that provides sons with valuable skills for suc-ceeding in the educational system. Third, we hypothesizethat parents with more economic capital are more likelyto have sons in higher education streams. Wealthierfamilies use higher-level schooling for their children as astrategy for transmitting economic capital to their chil-dren via means other than inheritance. In addition, inthe Swiss education system a large number of childrenin the higher streams receive extra-curricular teachingrequiring economic investment on the part of the par-ents. Finally, we hypothesize that parents with more so-cial capital are more likely to have sons in highereducation streams. Parental interventions in school canhelp children succeed in the school system and parentsoften use their social capital for these kinds of interven-tions. In addition, parents can use their social capital toselect schools that will maximize their children’s chancesof succeeding scholastically.Capital multiplier interplaysCapital multiplier interplays refer to processes wherebythe successful application of one form of capital is facili-tated by possession of another form of capital, that is,where one form of capital multiplies the effect of an-other. Multiplier interplays include scenarios whereinthe health effect of the educational stream of the sons isfacilitated or strengthened by capitals held by the par-ents. First we examine whether the health effect of theeducational stream of the sons is conditional upon theeducation level of the parents, hypothesizing that per-sonal education will be more strongly associated withself-rated health among sons with higher educated par-ents than among sons with lower educated parents. Thiscould occur because some of the health promoting char-acteristics of grammar school environments, such thepresence of gymnasiums for certain kinds of physical ac-tivity, are more efficacious for the health for sons whoare already familiar with the activities that occur in themfrom early childhood experiences with like-educated par-ents. In addition, sons may be able to apply their owneducational capital more effectively in the labour marketand elsewhere when the process of doing so has beenpreviously modelled for them by their parents. Second,we examine whether the health effect of the educationalstream of the sons is conditional upon the number ofbooks in the home, hypothesizing that personal educa-tion will be more strongly associated with self-ratedhealth among sons with parents who are relatively richin this form of cultural capital. In this regard the pres-ence of books in the home functions as an indicator ofprior familiarity with the intellectual content of highereducational stream settings. Third, we determine whetherthe health effect of educational stream is conditional uponthe economic capital held by the parents, hypothesizingthat personal education will be more strongly associatedwith self-rated health among sons with parents who arerelatively wealthy. This could occur if personal educationis less efficacious for the production of the good health ofpeople who lack the financial background to implementthe healthy lifestyle choices common in the social circlesinhabited by people of similar educational attainment. Fi-nally, we hypothesize that the health effect of educationalstream is more strongly associated with self-rated healthamong sons from families with relatively more socialcapital. Social capital is an indicator of familiarity withvalues and norms prevalent in higher track educationsettings that in turn could facilitate more efficacioususe of the health promoting aspects of higher educa-tional stream settings.MethodsSurvey sampleOur study uses data from the Young Adults Swiss Sur-vey (YASS). The YASS was ethically approved by thesupervising board of nine members representing theSwiss National Science Foundation and the Federal Stat-istical Office. Study procedures were also ethically ap-proved by the scientific advisory board of the YASSstudy. The target population consisted of all Swiss malecitizens of conscription age (around nineteen years ofage). Data collection was conducted in 2010 and 2011 atthe six national recruiting centres in Switzerland whererecruitment for compulsory military service occurs. Par-ticipation in the cross-sectional survey was voluntaryand anonymous. In total, 31,424 young Swiss men, ap-proximately 40% of the entire population of Swiss men inthis cohort, participated in the YASS study. The surveywas administered as a paper-and-pencil questionnaire in aclassroom setting and was available in German, Frenchand Italian. The survey was administered by non-militarystaff and collection and processing methods were notlinked to the actual conscription procedure. We restrictedour investigation to those survey respondents (n = 28,795)who lived with one or both parents at the time of the sur-vey. We further restricted our analyses to those respon-dents (n = 23,975) who provided information for all of thevariables used in our study. Table 1 describes socio-Table 1 Characteristics of the sampleVariable Categories n %Age 17 years 7 0.018 years 6,424 26.819 years 10,850 45.320 years 4,790 20.021 years 1,323 5.522 years 386 1.623 years 110 0.524 years 68 0.325 years 17 0.1Immigrant status born in Switzerland 22,426 93.5immigrated to Switzerland 1,549 6.5Recruitment centre Lausanne 4,187 17.5Sumiswald 3,080 12.9MtCeneri 1,437 6.0Windisch 7,422 31.0Ruti 4,281 17.9Mels 3,568 14.9Highest parental education mandatory schooling 579 2.4vocational 10,588 44.2grammar school 1,182 4.9technical college 5,171 21.6university 6,455 26.9Personal educational stream mandatory schooling 1,496 6.2vocational 13,824 57.7grammar school 8,655 36.1Number of books in the home 0 to 10 2,026 8.511 to 50 6,864 28.651 to 200 7,426 31.0201 to 400 3,934 16.4more than 400 3,725 15.5Parental financial condition very bad 614 2.6bad 4,287 17.9good 14,305 59.7very good 4,769 19.9Parental social capital very unlikely 1,171 4.9rather unlikely 3,144 13.1rather likely 7,154 29.8very likely 12,506 52.2Self-rated health poor 63 0.3fair 710 3.0good 7,483 31.2very good 10,949 45.7excellent 4,770 19.9Veenstra and Abel International Journal for Equity in Health  (2015) 14:38 Page 4 of 10demographic characteristics of the final sample of surveyrespondents.Survey measuresIn Switzerland, approximately one third of adolescentsattend grammar schools that lead to university entrancediplomas and then, typically, technical college or univer-sity. About six in ten do vocational training in manualor office jobs with one day of vocational school perweek. Our respondents were asked about their motherand father’s levels of educational attainment, enabling usto calculate highest parental education attainment. Inthis regard we distinguish between five levels of parentaleducation: mandatory schooling only, vocational train-ing, grammar school, technical college and university.We use educational stream in three categories to assessthe institutionalized cultural capital of the sons, distin-guishing between mandatory schooling only, vocationaltraining and grammar school.To assess the objectified cultural capital of the parents,respondents were asked “How many books are there inyour parents’ home?” with response categories ‘none oronly a few (0–10),’ ‘enough to fill a book shelf (11–50),’‘enough to fill a book case (51–200),’ ‘enough to fill twobook cases (201–400)’ and ‘enough to fill three or morebook cases (more than 400).’ To assess perceived eco-nomic capital, respondents were asked “How financiallywell-off are your parents?” with response categories ‘verygood financial conditions,’ ‘good financial conditions,’‘modest financial conditions’ and ‘very modest financialconditions.’ The social capital of parents was assessed byasking respondents “Should you need support fromsomeone in an influential position, someone with con-nections, could your parents arrange such a contact?”with response categories ‘very likely,’ ‘rather likely,’ ‘ra-ther unlikely’ and ‘very unlikely.’ Consistent with Bour-dieu’s understanding of social capital, this measure ofsocial capital, unlike most others in the health determi-nants literature, focuses on access to the capitals held byothers rather than on the presence or number of socialties of any and all kinds.Global self-rated health, known to encompass bothphysical and mental well-being and to reliably predictother, more objective, measures of health [25] as well asmortality [26], was assessed as follows: “How would yourate your health status in general?” with response cat-egories ‘excellent,’ ‘very good,’ ‘good,’ ‘fair’ and ‘poor.’Statistical methodsBinary logistic regression modelling was applied to self-rated health which we coded poor, fair or good = 0 andvery good or excellent = 1. We introduced two-waymultiplicative terms to regression models in order toexamine statistical interactions between capital variablesVeenstra and Abel International Journal for Equity in Health  (2015) 14:38 Page 5 of 10as predictors of very good or excellent health. Likelihoodratio tests were applied post hoc to assess the statisticalsignificance of the interactions.ResultsA series of six main effects models on self-rated healthare presented in Table 2. Model 1 describes the relation-ship between parental education and the self-ratedhealth of the sons, controlling for the age and immigrantstatus of the sons only. In comparison with sons withparents who completed mandatory schooling only, sonswith parents who completed grammar school (OR =1.230, 95% CI = 1.005–1.513), technical college (OR =1.342, 95% CI = 1.123–1.604) or university (OR = 1.354,95% CI = 1.136–1.614) were significantly more likely toreport better self-rated health scores.Capital acquisition interplaysModels 2 through 4 in Table 2 address the degree towhich number of books in the home, family economiccircumstances and the social capital of parents, respect-ively, explain the association between parental educationand the self-rated health of the sons. These models indi-cate that, although all three factors are relevant in thisregard, economic capital is the more important poten-tially mediating factor. As a set the three parental capi-tals explain all of the variability in the self-rated healthof the sons attributable to parental education (Model 5).Capital transmission interplaysModel 6 in Table 2 indicates that, controlling for theparental capitals, sons in the vocational (OR = 1.448,95% CI = 1.296–1.617) or grammar school (OR = 1.580,95% CI = 1.405–1.776) streams were significantly morelikely than sons with only mandatory schooling to reportbetter self-rated health. Number of books in the home,perceived financial condition of the family and parentalties with influential others also manifest significant andpositive associations with health in this model. Substan-tially unchanged coefficients for parental capitals fromModel 5 to Model 6 indicate that none of the associa-tions between parental capitals and the self-rated healthof the sons is explained by the educational stream of thesons. That is, we find little evidence that the transmis-sion of capitals of parents to the institutionalized cul-tural capital of sons explains variability in the self-ratedhealth of the sons.Capital multiplier interplaysInteraction models depicting possible capital multiplierinterplays are described in Table 3. For these analyses wedichotomized parental education (university or not),books in the home (more than fifty or fewer than fifty),parental financial condition (very good or not) andparental social capital (very likely or not). Model 1 inTable 3 describes the main effects of the various capitalvariables on self-rated health while Model 2 describesthe interaction between parental education and the edu-cational stream of the sons (the LR test comparingModels 1 and 2 produced p = 0.03). Contrary to expecta-tions, personal education was more strongly associatedwith self-rated health among young men whose parentshad less schooling. Among respondents whose parentshad not completed university, the odds of sons reportingvery good or excellent health were 1.686 (95% CI =1.469–1.936) times as high for sons in the vocationalstream as they were for sons in the mandatory schoolingstream and 1.850 (95% CI = 1.590–2.153) times as highfor sons in the grammar stream as they were for sons inthe mandatory schooling stream. Reproducing Model 2with parental education reverse coded (model notshown) indicates that the same odds ratios were smalleramong respondents whose parents completed university(OR = 1.262, 95% CI = 1.051–1.515 and OR = 1.354, 95%CI = 1.127–1.627, respectively). The interactions betweenbooks in the home and educational stream (Model 3)and parental economic capital and educational stream(Model 4) were not statistically significant (p > 0.05 inboth cases). Model 5 describes the interaction betweenparental social capital and the educational stream of thesons (p = 0.02). Among respondents whose parents hadnot completed university, the odds of sons reportingvery good or excellent health were 1.590 (95% CI =1.344–1.879) times as high for sons in the vocationalstream as they were for sons in the mandatory schoolingstream and 1.837 (95% CI = 1.547–2.183) times as highfor sons in the grammar stream as they were for sons inthe mandatory schooling stream. Reproducing Model 5with parental social capital reverse coded (model notshown) indicates that these odds ratios were smalleramong respondents whose parents completed university(OR = 1.471, 95% CI = 1.271–1.702 and OR = 1.462, 95%CI = 1.252–1.708, respectively).ConclusionsLimitations of the study include the fact that each formof capital was assessed by a single indicator. In addition,the measure of cultural capital, assessing number ofbooks in the home, did not account for the kinds ofbooks owned by parents, presumably not all of whichcan be deemed elements of cultural capital. The measureswere based on self-reports, potentially introducing un-known bias in our assessments of individual resources,and the data was cross-sectional, limiting our ability tomake definitive causal interpretations. In addition, thestudy was restricted to a single cohort of young Swissmen, limiting the temporal applicability of our findings. Fi-nally, to the degree that injured or sick men postponeTable 2 Binary logistic regression main effect models on excellent/very good self-rated healthModel1Model2Model3Model4Model5Model6Variable Categories OR 95% CI OR 95% CI OR 95% CI OR 95% CI OR 95% CI OR 95% CIHighest parental education mandatory schooling(reference)1.000 1.000 1.000 1.000 1.000 1.000vocational 1.130 0.951..1.344 1.061 0.892..1.264 1.005 0.843..1.197 1.068 0.897..1.271 0.929 0.778..1.110 0.911 0.762..1.988grammar school 1.230* 1.005..1.513 1.101 0.892..1.358 1.060 0.860..1.307 1.157 0.939..1.425 0.944 0.762..1.168 0.912 0.736..1.129technical college 1.342** 1.123..1.604 1.219* 1.017..1.460 1.107 0.923..1.327 1.217* 1.016..1.456 0.977 0.812..1.175 0.946 0.786..1.139university 1.354** 1.136..1.614 1.180 0.984..1.415 1.047 0.875..1.253 1.224* 1.025..1.462 0.904 0.750..1.088 0.861 0.714..1.038Number of books in the home 0 to 10 (reference) 1.000 1.000 1.00011 to 50 1.195** 1.078..1.324 1.175** 1.058..1.304 1.159** 1.044..1.28751 to 200 1.309*** 1.180..1.452 1.291*** 1.162..1.435 1.255*** 1.129..1.395201 to 400 1.397*** 1.244..1.570 1.343*** 1.194..1.512 1.290*** 1.145..1.454more than 400 1.365*** 1.209..1.539 1.287*** 1.139..1.455 1.227** 1.083..1.390Parental financial condition very bad (reference) 1.000 1.000 1.000bad 1.262** 1.064..1.497 1.214* 1.022..1.441 1.199* 1.009..1.424good 1.860*** 1.579..2.192 1.701*** 1.440..2.009 1.656*** 1.402..1.958very good 3.073*** 2.582..3.659 2.656*** 2.223..3.172 2.600*** 2.176..3.107Parental social capital very unlikely (reference) 1.000 1.000 1.000rather unlikely 1.259** 1.099..1.443 1.153* 1.004..1.323 1.142 0.995..1.312rather likely 1.425*** 1.257..1.617 1.241** 1.091..1.411 1.239** 1.089..1.410very likely 1.881*** 1.664..2.126 1.499*** 1.322..1.701 1.524*** 1.342..1.729Educational stream mandatory schooling(reference)1.000vocational 1.448*** 1.448***grammar school 1.580*** 1.405..1.776Chi-square (p) 219.82 (<0.001) 259.56 (<0.001) 643.93 (<0.001) 412.65 (<0.001) 751.16 (<0.001) 808.88 (<0.001)***p < 0.001, **p < 0.01, *p < 0.05. Each model controls for age and immigrant status. N = 23,975 in each model.VeenstraandAbelInternationalJournalforEquityinHealth (2015) 14:38 Page6of10Table 3 Binary logistic regression interaction models on excellent/very good self-rated healthModel1Model2Model3Model4Model5Variable Categories OR 95% CI OR 95% CI OR 95% CI OR 95% CI OR 95% CIHighest parental education less than university (reference) 1.000 1.000 1.000 1.000 1.000university 1.027 0.970..1.089 1.357** 1.092..1.686 1.026 0.968..1.087 1.027 0.970..1.089 1.029 0.971..1.091Number of books in the home 50 or fewer (reference) 1.000 1.000 1.000 1.000 1.000more than 50 1.124*** 1.059..1.193 1.124*** 1.059..1.193 1.018 0.827..1.252 1.125*** 1.060..1.194 1.125*** 1.059..1.194Parental financial condition less than very good (reference) 1.000 1.000 1.000 1.000 1.000very good 1.684*** 1.562..1.817 1.687*** 1.564..1.820 1.682*** 1.559..1.814 2.023*** 1.527..2.681 1.688*** 1.565..1.820Parental social capital less than very likely (reference) 1.000 1.000 1.000 1.000 1.000very likely 1.324*** 1.252..1.400 1.325*** 1.253..1.401 1.323*** 1.251..1.399 1.323*** 1.252..1.400 1.500*** 1.214..1.851Educational stream mandatory schooling (reference) 1.000 1.000 1.000 1.000 1.000vocational 1.516*** 1.385..1.692 1.686*** 1.469..1.936 1.458*** 1.249..1.703 1.578*** 1.399..1.780 1.590*** 1.344..1.879grammar school 1.636*** 1.457..1.836 1.850*** 1.590..2.153 1.457*** 1.220..1.740 1.671*** 1.472..1.896 1.837*** 1.547..2.181Highest parental education*educationalstreamless thanuniversity and vocational (reference) 1.000university and vocational 0.748* 0.595..0.940less than university and grammar (reference) 1.000university and grammar 0.732* 0.578..0.927Number ofbooks*educational stream50 or fewer and vocational (reference) 1.000more than 50 and vocational 1.083 0.870..1.34750 or fewer andgrammar (reference) 1.000more than 50 and grammar 1.202 0.949..1.522Parental financialcondition*educational streamless than very good and vocational (reference) 1.000very good and vocational 0.787 0.584..1.059less than very good and grammar(reference)1.000very good and grammar 0.880 0.647..1.1961.000VeenstraandAbelInternationalJournalforEquityinHealth (2015) 14:38 Page7of10Table 3 Binary logistic regression interaction models on excellent/very good self-rated health (Continued)Parental social capital*educationalstreamless than very likely and vocational(reference)very likely and vocational 0.925 0.741..1.155 lless than very likely and grammar (reference) 1.000very likely and grammar 0.796 0.632..1.001Chi-square (p) 665.72 (p < 0.001) 672.70 (p < 0.001) 669.05 (p < 0.001) 669.48 (p < 0.001) 673.65 (p < 0.001)***p < 0.001, **p < 0.01, *p < 0.05. Each model controls for age and immigrant status. N = 23,975 in each model.VeenstraandAbelInternationalJournalforEquityinHealth (2015) 14:38 Page8of10Veenstra and Abel International Journal for Equity in Health  (2015) 14:38 Page 9 of 10their visits to the conscription centres the prevalence ofpoor health is underrepresented by our sample. Nonethe-less our findings speak to the potentially important roleplayed by the educational system in the intergenerationalproduction and reproduction of social and health inequal-ities in Switzerland and the relevance of capital interplaysfor illuminating processes by which this occurs. In particu-lar, our study indicates that capital interplays are central tothe successful application of parental institutionalized cul-tural capital towards achieving the good health of malechildren in Switzerland.Consistent with previous research [21,24,27-30], wefound that, in comparison with sons whose parents com-pleted mandatory schooling only, sons with parents whocompleted technical college or university were signifi-cantly more likely to report better self-rated health. Thisresult calls for further illumination of the mechanismsby which good health is facilitated by intergenerationalsocial processes. To this end we found that parental eco-nomic capital was a potentially important mediating fac-tor in the presumed effect of parental education on thehealth of their sons, suggesting that material circum-stances in childhood are factors in the production ofgood health among young Swiss men. We also foundthat number of books in the home manifested an inde-pendent association with the health of the young men,suggesting that incorporating book-reading into child-rearing practices and fostering familiarity with culturalsymbols of high social status in childhood may behealth-relevant forms of embodied cultural capital. Par-ental social ties to influential people also manifested anindependent association with the health and wellbeing ofthese young men, suggesting that familial access to thecapitals of others may be additional resources for theproduction of good health. Finally, we found that thepositive association between educational stream andself-rated health was stronger among young men withlesser educated parents and stronger among young menwith parents who were relatively low in social capital. In-compatible with multiplier interplays as we havedepicted them here, these results suggest that the healthgains stemming from higher-level school environmentsand/or higher-level educational credentials may partlycompensate for the social disadvantage that accompanieslower levels of cultural and social capitals in families.In conclusion, we find empirical support for all of thecapital acquisition interplays examined in our study,namely, that parental institutionalized cultural capital fa-cilitates the acquisition of parental objectified culturalcapital (books in the home), parental economic capital(wealth) and parental social capital (ties to influentialpeople) that then foster the health of young men inSwitzerland. We do not find empirical support for any ofthe capital transmission interplays examined in ourstudy, namely, that parental capitals shape the educa-tional stream of the young men and thence their health.Rather, we find that these diverse parental and personalcapitals manifest independent associations with the self-rated health of these men. Finally, we find no supportfor the multiplier interplays examined here, namely, thatthe positive effects of educational stream are strongerfor sons with parents possessing more capital of variouskinds. Instead, we find that the positive effects of educa-tional stream are stronger for sons whose parents arelow in institutionalized cultural capital or low in socialcapital. We proffer the latter interplays as instances ofanother kind of capital interplay that can affect health,what we call compensatory capital interplays. Futurehealth research in this and other contexts should exam-ine the applicability of this capital interplay as well asthe acquisition, transmission and multiplier capital inter-plays outlined above.Competing interestsThe authors declare that they have no competing interests.Authors’ contributionsGV and TA originally conceived of the study, TA obtained the survey data,GV analyzed the data and GV and TA drafted the manuscript. Both authorsread and approved the final manuscript.AcknowledgementsProject management for the YASS study was provided by the Institute forthe Management and Economics of Education, University of TeacherEducation Central Switzerland Zug (contact: Stephan Huber). The researchpartners included the Institute for Education Evaluation, University of Zurich(contact: Urs Moser); the Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine,University of Bern (contact: Thomas Abel); and the Department of Sociology,University of Geneva (contact: Sandro Cattacin). Gerry Veenstra wassupported by a Killam Faculty Research Fellowship (2013) awarded by theUniversity of British Columbia during the time of this research. Warm thanksare extended to the Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine at theUniversity of Bern for hosting GV’s sabbatical visit in 2013.Author details1Department of Sociology, University of British Columbia, 6303 N. W. MarineDrive, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1, Canada. 2Institute of Social and PreventiveMedicine, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland.Received: 5 November 2014 Accepted: 10 April 2015References1. Bourdieu P, Passeron J. Reproduction in education, society and culture. 2nded. London: Sage Publications; 1990 [1970].2. Bourdieu P. Distinction. A social critique of the judgment of taste.Cambridge: Harvard University Press; 1984 [1978].3. Bourdieu P. The forms of capital. In: Richardson J, editor. Handbook oftheory and research for the sociology of education. New York: GreenwoodPress; 1986. p. 241–58 [1983].4. Bourdieu P. 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