chapter  13
20 Pages

Bright and Dark Sides of Who You Know in the Evaluation of Well-Being: Social Capital and Life Satisfaction Across Three Societies


There has been a long tradition of research on the impact of social relationships on health and well-being in sociology since Durkheim’s ([1897] 1951) pioneering study on social integration and suicide. Studies have documented the association of diverse aspects of social relationships with various health and well-being outcomes (for reviews, see House, Landis and Umberson 1988; Lin and Peek 1999; Smith and Christakis 2008; Umberson and Montez 2010). We now face two major challenges in expanding our existing knowledge of the eff ect of social relationships on health and well-being (Berkman et al. 2000; House, Landis and Umberson 1988; Umberson and Montez 2010): the exploration of social mechanisms in the linkage of social relationships to health and well-being and the dark sides of various aspects of social relationships. I argue that social capital conceived as network resources represents a sociological theory that will help us meet these two challenges from a social network perspective (Lin 2001c).