Title page for ETD etd-06092009-151048

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Cutlip, Anna
Author's Email Address acutli1@lsu.edu
URN etd-06092009-151048
Title Community Social Capital and Suicide Rates
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department Sociology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
William B. Bankston Committee Chair
Edward S. Shihadeh Committee Member
Matthew R. Lee Committee Member
Thomas J. Durant Committee Member
Michelle M. Livermore Dean's Representative
  • community
  • social capital
  • suicide
  • civic participation
Date of Defense 2009-05-14
Availability unrestricted
The integrating capacity of social institutions on community organization and the consequential benefits of community cohesion are well-known, i.e. lower crime rates, better health outcomes, economic and social stability. Drawing on the civil society and civic community literatures, this study applies the theory of social capital to study of suicide. Rather than focus on individual level data, macro-level data are analyzed to determine the relationship between the social capital of an area and the prevalence of suicide. Negative binomial regression is used to examine U.S. counties of 100,000 residents or more (urban) and counties of 1,000 to 25,000 residents (rural) to determine the effect of six community social capital measures on race, gender, and age specific suicide rates. The results indicate much variation among social groups. Urban areas are found to be more responsive to community social capital than are rural areas, although not all social capital indicators had the effect of reducing suicide rates. In the initial analyses, bonding and bridging social capital are associated with reductions in suicide more often among whites, whereas only bonding social capital is associated with reductions in black suicide. Upon further analysis the theory of social capital garnered much more support once age was accounted for in the analyses. In urban counties, 3 of the 5 social capital indices are associated with reductions in suicide across social groups and age categories. However, in rural counties, this relationship is only maintained among rural whites.
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