The Effect of Family and Neighbourhood Social Capital on Youth Mental Health in South Africa

Oluwaseyi Somefun, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg
Arlette Simo Fotso, World Bank Group

Despite the prevalence of mental illness in South Africa, few studies using national representative data have examined its correlates, especially among youth. The inconclusive relationship between social capital and a number of youth developmental outcomes has been previously documented. Mechanisms through which social capital influences mental health of youth in South Africa remain unclear. In addition, there is little evidence on the differences in the way social capital obtained at the family level influences mental health compared to social capital at the community level. Using the National Income Dynamics Survey data for South Africa, we examine these associations among 2,307 youth aged 15-24 across the four waves. Multilevel logistic regression with lagged social capital variables was used to examine these associations. Social capital at the family level measured by household income increased the odds of incident depression. At the community level crime was associated with higher odds of incident depression.

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  Presented in Session 38. Substance Use Behaviors Among Youth In Sub-Saharan Africa