Skip directly to searchSkip directly to the site navigationSkip directly to the page's main content

Social and Community Context

Social and community context includes all the settings and relationships in the social, religious, cultural, and workplaces in which people take part.


An important aspect of an individual's social context is the sense of cohesion and interpersonal trust among community members and an individual's sense that they belong and are supported in their community. Social cohesion is strongly influenced by racial discrimination and inequality. Aspects of the social and community context include:
  • Social Cohesion
  • Civic Participation
  • Discrimination
  • Incarceration

Why It's Important

Social context and social capital in the living environment, both on the individual and neighbourhood level, are positively associated with self-rated health.
  1. Waverijn G, Wolfe MK, Mohnen S, Rijken M, Spreeuwenberg P, Groenewegen P.(2014) A prospective analysis of the effect of neighbourhood and individual social capital on changes in self-rated health of people with chronic illness. BMC Public Health. 2014 Jul 3;14:675. «
  2. Mohnen SM, Völker B, Flap H, Subramanian SV, Groenewegen PP.(2013) You have to be there to enjoy it? Neighbourhood social capital and health. Eur J Public Health. 2013 Feb;23(1):33-9. doi: 10.1093/eurpub/cks039. «

How It's Tracked

One's "social captial," including social support networks, civic participation and voting, and working to improve conditions in the community, is sometimes used to measure an individual's positive social context. An optional questionnaire module on the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) survey has been developed to measure social captial.