Social capital, political trust and self rated-health: a population-based study in southern Sweden

Mohabbat Mohseni, Martin Lindström
Scandinavian Journal of Public Health 2008, 36 (1): 28-34

AIM: To investigate the association between political trust (an aspect of institutional trust) and self-rated health, taking generalized (horizontal) trust in other people into account.

METHODS: The 2004 public health survey in Skåne is a cross-sectional postal questionnaire study answered by 27,963 respondents aged 18-80 years, yielding a 59% response rate. A logistic regression model was used to investigate the associations between political trust in the Riksdag (national parliament) and self-rated health. Multivariate analyses of political trust and self-rated health were performed in order to investigate the importance of possible confounders.

RESULTS: Poor health was reported by 28.7% of the men and 33.2% of the women. In total, 17.3% and 11.6% of the male and female respondents, respectively, reported that they had no trust at all in the Riksdag. The addition of generalized (horizontal) trust in the multivariate models reduced the odds ratios of poor self-rated health in the "no political trust at all'' category as compared to the "very high political trust'' category from 2.4 (1.8-3.1) to 2.1 (1.6-2.7) among men and from 1.9 (1.4-2.4) to 1.6 (1.3-2.1) among women.

CONCLUSIONS: Low political trust in the Riksdag seems to be significantly associated with poor self-rated health, even after adjustments for plausible confounders, including generalized (horizontal) trust.

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