Neighborhood-based social capital and cognitive function among older adults in five low- and middle-income countries: Evidence from the World Health Organization Study on global AGEing and adult health.

Journal Article (Journal Article)


This study aims to investigate which neighborhood-based social capital components are associated with a higher level of cognitive function in LMICs.


This international population-based study used cross-sectional survey data from the World Health Organization's Study on global AGEing and adult health (SAGE), a study of adults aged 50 years or older in China, Ghana, India, the Russian Federation, and South Africa from 2007 through 2010 (N = 29 528). Associations between neighborhood-based social capital indicators (trust in neighbors, perceived neighborhood safety, and community participation) and cognitive function were examined using ordinary least squares regressions and random-effects meta-analyses.


Results of the meta-analyses of within-country effects indicated that trust in neighbors were positively associated with cognitive function across India, Russia, and Ghana, but negatively associated in South Africa (β = -0.041, SE = .013, P < .01) and no effect in China (P > .05). The significant effect of perceived neighborhood safety was only found in South Africa (β = 0.051, SE = .007, P < .001) and China (β = 0.030, SE = .005, P < .001). Community participation approached a null effect in South Africa (P > .05).


Different indicators of neighborhood-based social capital, which are well-established protective resources for cognitive function, may have varied relationships with cognitive function cross-nationally. This finding provides a better understanding of the mechanisms by which neighborhood social capital may contribute to better cognitive function in LMICs than high-income countries, potentially due to differences in neighborhood environments, health systems, and availability of public resources.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Jiang, N; Wu, B; Lu, N; Dong, T

Published Date

  • April 2020

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 35 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 365 - 375

PubMed ID

  • 31755134

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1099-1166

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0885-6230

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1002/gps.5239


  • eng