UBC Faculty Research and Publications

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


Introduction: We apply capital interplay theory to health inequalities in Switzerland by investigating the interconnected effects of parental cultural, economic and social capitals and personal educational stream on the self-rated health of young Swiss men who live with their parents. Methods: We apply logistic regression modelling to self-rated health in original cross-sectional survey data collected during 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 who completed technical college or university were significantly more likely to report very good or excellent self-rated health. 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 influential people (parental social capital) were also independently associated with the self-rated health of the sons. Although sons in the highest educational stream tended to report better health than those in the lowest, we found little evidence for a health-producing intergenerational transmission of capitals via the education stream of the sons. Finally, the positive association between personal education and self-rated health was stronger among sons with relatively poorly educated parents 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 capitals interpenetrate or co-constitute one another, in the intergenerational production of the health of young men in Switzerland.

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