The Impact of Community Social Capital on the occurrence of Injuries in adolescents and falls in older adults: Population-based Studies Conducted in Canadian samples
The objectives of this thesis were to study specific Canadian populations in order to examine; (1) relationships between the neighbourhood-level social capital and injuries in youth, as well as (2) falls in older adults, and; (3) to address methodological issues relevant to the study of such relationships. The thesis is comprised of four manuscripts. The first addresses methodological issues surrounding the validation of neighbourhood-level variables for the study of adolescent health, and demonstrates the existence of structural confounding in the study of related etiological relationships. Informed by the latter, the second manuscript examines the association between neighbourhood-level social capital and injuries in youth, and demonstrates that lower levels of social capital are protective factors for girls but not for boys. Manuscript 3 uses an international database focused on older adults, and shows that our existing measure of social capital is valid at neighbourhood levels, but also that there is a high possibility for the existence of structural confounding among Canadian older adults. The fourth manuscript then examines the association between neighbourhood-level social capital and the occurrence of falls in older adults and determines that differences between neighbourhoods are important factors in the occurrence of falls, and that higher levels of social capital are a risk factor for falls. Taken together, results from this thesis provide a better understanding of the role of neighbourhood-level social capital on the occurrence of injuries in Canadian youth and on the occurrence of falls in older adults. Our contributions were important both methodologically and etiologically.
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