Collections > UNC Chapel Hill Undergraduate Honors Theses Collection > An Analysis of the Determinants of Social Capital as Connectedness in Lenoir County, NC

Social connectedness is frequently defined as the extent to which people interact with one another, either individually or through groups. A person’s number of close friends and family members, the frequency and type of interactions a person has with her friends and family, the trust she has in her neighbors and others, and the extent to which she participates in volunteer activities or community events all directly correlate to a person’s well being – both in a personal and economic sense. In economic literature the focus has been on examining the importance of social capital for economic growth. Researchers have also examined the links between social connectedness and its impact on better health outcomes (mental and physical), welfare, political connectedness, and much more. But at this point in time, there is very little research examining what factors affect social connectedness itself. This paper will contribute to the body of research on social connectedness by attempting to determine what demographic factors have the potential to influence levels of social connectedness. Data from the Heart Healthy Lenoir Project were used in the framework of a logistic regression model to study the effect of demographic and economic variables of individuals such as age, gender, race, marital status, income, level of employment, level of education, and perceived standings within the community and the United States on social connectedness. Key findings indicate that education and “perceived standing within the community” are important factors that influence social connectedness.