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Having a strong community protects adolescents from risky health behaviors
Date:2/2/2011

and tended to have lower BMIs than poor adolescents who didn't have abundant social capital. "You may be able to loosen those connections between early childhood poverty and negative health outcomes if you live in a community with good social resources," Evans says.

Adolescents in communities with more social capital may have better role models or mentors. Or perhaps in a more empowered community, where people feel comfortable stopping someone else's bad behavior, the young people also feel less helpless as individuals. They might believe that "you have some control over what's going to happen to you," Evans says.

It's an easy conclusion that increasing social capital might improve the lives of children in poverty. But Evans emphasizes that this won't solve the health problems associated with impoverished living in childhood. Poor adolescents who live in communities with more social capital may be better off than other poor kids, but they're still less healthy than their middle-income peers. "It's not correct to conclude that, if you just improve social capital, then it would be ok to be poor," Evans says. "Poverty is important."


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Contact: Keri Chiodo
kchiodo@psychologicalscience.org
202-293-9300
Association for Psychological Science
Source:Eurekalert

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