Identifying individual social capital profiles in low-resource communities: Using cluster analysis to enhance community engagement

Mary Ellen Brown, Michelle Livermore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: Understanding social capital patterns among community members has been identified as a strategy to help community organizers plan more effective neighborhood engagement approaches. This study seeks to identify and describe social capital profiles among residents of a low-resource community. Method: We used a cross-sectional, community-based participatory research design to administer a face-to-face head-of-household survey (N 5 121 households) in three adjacent, underresourced neighborhoods in Baton Rouge, LA. We used hierarchical cluster analysis to identify social capital profiles; differences in cluster profiles were assessed using analysis of variance tests. Results: We identified four distinct social capital profiles. Among the highly civically engaged profiles, one engaged social ties more, whereas the other trusted more and participated in more reciprocal behaviors. Among the less civically engaged profiles, one engaged social ties and participated in more reciprocal behaviors, and the other expressed high levels of trust. Conclusions: Efforts to build social capital in communities should recognize that individuals possess different social capital profiles and may be motivated to engage by different factors. We discuss strategies that community organizers and social workers could use to enhance community engagement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)477-500
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of the Society for Social Work and Research
Volume10
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019

Keywords

  • Civic engagement
  • Community
  • Social capital
  • Social ties
  • Trust

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science

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