Study protocol : SWING - social capital and well-being in neighborhoods in Ghent
Faculty of Law
International journal for equity in health. - London
, p. 1-10
University of Antwerp
Background: Investing in social capital has been put forth as a potential lever for policy action to tackle health inequity. Notwithstanding, empirical evidence that supports social capital's role in the existence of health inequity is limited and inconclusive. Furthermore, social capital literature experiences important challenges with regard to (1) the level on which social capital is measured and analyzed; (2) the measurement of the concept in line with its multidimensional nature; and (3) the cross-cultural validity of social capital measurements. The Social capital and Well-being In Neighborhoods in Ghent (SWING) study is designed to meet these challenges. The collected data can be used to investigate the distribution of health problems and the association between social capital, health and well-being, both at the individual and at the neighborhood level. The main goals of the SWING study are (1) to develop a coherent multilevel dataset of indicators on individual and neighborhood social capital and well-being that contains independent indicators of neighborhood social capital at a low level of aggregation and (2) to measure social capital as a multidimensional concept. The current article describes the background and design of the SWING study. Methods/Design: The SWING study started in 2011 and data were collected in three cross-sectional waves: the first in 2011, the second in 2012, and the third in 2013. Data collection took place in 142 neighborhoods (census tract level) in the city of Ghent (Flanders, Belgium). Multiple methods of data collection were used within each wave, including: (1) a standardized questionnaire, largely administered face-to-face interviews for neighborhood inhabitants (N = 2,730); (2) face-to-face interviews with key informants using a standardized questionnaire (N = 2,531); and (3) an observation checklist completed by the interviewers (N = 2,730 in total). The gathered data are complemented by data available within administrative data services. Discussion: The opportunities and ambitions of the SWING study are discussed, together with the limitations of the database.