The Society for Social Work and Research

2013 Annual Conference

January 16-20, 2013 I Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina I San Diego, CA

Social Capital and the Promotion of Health and Well-Being Among Indonesian Women

Friday, January 18, 2013
Grande Ballroom A, B, and C (Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina)
* noted as presenting author
Tuti Alawiyah, MHum, Doctoral Student, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX
Mary Lehman Held, LCSW, Doctoral Candidate, University of Texas at Austin, San Antonio, TX
NoŽl Busch-Armendariz, PhD, LMSW, MPA, Associate Professor, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX

Social capital (often operationalized as community engagement and social trust) has been positively associated with adult health and well-being (Almedon, 2005; Helliwell& Putnam, 2003). Yet our knowledge about the meaning of social capital for women, especially from developing countries such as Indonesia is limited. A focus on women is especially relevant because many social programs (such as family planning, welfare, empowerment, and micro finance) target women, as social and economic change agents in families and communities. What is unclear, however, is how this engagement promotes women’s health and well-being. Because women are the target of these efforts, understanding this connection is especially relevant in the consideration of these programs’ continuance and/or expansion throughout the world. This study fills this gap by examining the relationship between social capital (community engagement and social trust) and health status and well-being for women in Indonesia. Implications for social work practice and policy development are offered.


This study utilized the 2005 World Values Survey (the fourth wave), a longitudinal study that examined changing values and cultures across the globe. For the current study, a sample from Indonesian women (N=789 ) was used to assess the two main research questions: (1) whether any significant differences exist between actively engaged and not actively engaged women in regards with health and well-being; and (2) whether active participation and social trust can be associated with improved health and well-being. ANOVA, correlation, and multiple regression were used to answer these questions. The dependent variables were health and well-being (life satisfaction) and the independent variables were community engagement and social trust. Demographic variables including age, SES, employment and marital status served as control variables. Only variables that had significant correlations with health and well-being were included in the multiple regression model.


The results showed there was a significant difference among women who were actively engaged in the community compared to those who were not in regards with well-being. Using the multiple regression analysis, the proposed model explained 29% of the variance of self-rated health status and 38% of the variance of well-being. Findings suggest that younger age and having more social trust were associated with improved health status [F (4,784)=17.814, p<.000] and higher education level, income, having better health status, and being actively engaged in professional organizations were associated with improved well-being [F (5,731)=24.047, p<.000].


Overall, the findings provide evidence to suggest the importance of social capital for the promotion of health and well-being even after controlling for SES among Indonesian women. Previous literature noted that women benefit from community participation through increasing access to social resources, information, and social supports. The results help inform social work practice in the area of women and community development to promote community engagement as a means of positively impacting women’s health and well-being. With the increasing international focus in both the academic and professional realms of social work, it is imperative to better understand factors that influence health and well-being of women in locations outside of the U.S.