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High social capital at work helps stop smoking

New research indicates that high social capital at work is associated with an increased likelihood of smoking cessation.

A research project within the Academy of Finland’s Research Programme on Social Capital and Networks of Trust (SoCa) examined smoking cessation among a total of 4,853 municipal employees who reported to be smokers.

Being a non-smoker at follow-up was 1.3 times more likely for those employees who reported high social capital at work than for their counterparts with low social capital at work.

A total of 1,608 employees (or 21 per cent) stopped smoking during the four-year follow-up time frame. The link between social capital and smoking cessation was the strongest for employees in higher-status positions. Social capital at work is manifested as a feeling of togetherness, good interaction and a striving towards the common good.

The SoCa project “Social capital and well-being amid the pressures for change of working life”, led by Professor Mika Kivimäki, has studied the ways in which social capital and its different subfields are connected to major diseases such as cardiovascular diseases and depression.

The project involved analyses of follow-up data on some 10,000 public employees from London and more than 40,000 municipal employees from Finland. The results showed that there was a link between fair management and an employee’s risk for coronary disease. If the management was seen as fair it was reflected as a reduced risk for coronary disease. Based on the register data, the research also showed that there was a link between organisational changes perceived as negative and an increased use of psychoactive drugs.

An article on the research is available online: Kouvonen A, Oksanen T, Vahtera J, De Vogli R, Elovainio M, Pentti J, Leka S, Cox T & Kivimaki M. Workplace Social Capital and Smoking Cessation: The Finnish Public Sector Study. Addiction 2008

Anita Westerback | alfa
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