Bonding personal social capital as an ingredient for positive aging and mental well-being. A study among a sample of Dutch elderly

Objectives: The current study aims to add to the limited empirical research of possible benefits of personal social capital for the well-being of elderly. A validated personal social capital scale, measuring both bonding and bridging social capital in a general population, was adjusted to fit the characteristics of the social environment of elderly, to explore the association between social capital and well-being of elderly, as well as the mediating role of loneliness.

Method: A sample of 328 Dutch adults, varying in age from 65 to 90 years (Mean = 72.07; SD = 4.90) filled out an online questionnaire including the adapted personal social capital scale for elderly (PSCSE), as well as validated scales measuring social, emotional, and psychological well-being and loneliness. Relevant other (demographic) variables were included for testing construct and criterion validity.

Results: CFA analysis revealed the subdimensions bonding and bridging social capital with reliability scores of respectively α = .88 and α = .87, and α = .89 for the total scale. Regression analyses confirmed construct and criterion validity. Subsequently, significant positive associations between bonding social capital and respectively social, emotional and psychological well-being were found. These associations were mediated by lonelinessBridging social capital was only found to be significantly associated with social well-being, not mediated by loneliness.

Conclusion: Our findings have enhanced our understanding of the association between social capital and mental well-being of elderly and indicate that bonding personal social capital in particular may be considered an ingredient for positive aging.

Marianne Simons, Johan Lataster, Jennifer Reijnders, Sanne Peeters, Mayke Janssens, and Nele Jacobs | 2020
In: Aging & Mental Health ; ISSN: 1360-7863 | 24 | 12 | 2034-2042
Open Access
Aging, Elderly, Insufficient Attachment/Bonding, Mental health, Netherlands, Patient Satisfaction, Positive Effects, Quality of Life, Scientific Research, Social Capital, Social Support Networks