Social Capital and Well-Being: Structural Analyses of Latina Mothers by Nativity

Mary L. Held, Matthew Cuellar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective This study examined the direct and mediating effects of maternal social capital on health and well-being for native- and foreign-born Latina mothers and their children. Methods Data were drawn from the baseline and nine-year follow up waves of the Fragile Families and Child Well-being Study. The study included a sample of 874 Latina mothers. Mplus7 was used to perform structural equation modeling to determine whether exogenous indicators (age, education, and economic well-being) predicted social capital, whether social capital predicted mother and child well-being, and whether mediating effects helped explain each relationship. Results For native-born Latinas (n = 540), social capital did not predict maternal or child well-being. However, social capital significantly mediated the effects of age, education, and economic well-being on maternal well-being. For foreign-born Latinas (n = 334), social capital was a significant predictor of maternal well-being. Social capital also mediated the effects of age, education, and economic well-being on maternal, but not child well-being. Younger and foreign-born Latinas who report higher educational attainment and economic well-being have greater social capital, and thus better self-reported health. Conclusion Findings suggest that social capital is particularly relevant to the health of foreign-born Latinas. For all Latina mothers, social capital may serve as a protective mitigating factor to better health. Health service providers should evaluate the potential to integrate programs that promote social capital accumulation for Latinas. Further research should examine factors to improve the health of Latinas’ children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1948-1955
Number of pages8
JournalMaternal and Child Health Journal
Volume20
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2016

Keywords

  • Child health
  • Latinas
  • Maternal health
  • Social capital

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