Neighborhood settings, types of social capital and depression among immigrants in Toronto

Nihaya Daoud, Nasim Haque, Meiyin Gao, Rosane Nisenbaum, Carles Muntaner, Patricia O’Campo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Few studies consider the associations between neighborhood social capital and immigrant’s mental health. We examined associations between bonding, bridging and linking social capital and depression among immigrants in Toronto neighborhoods. Methods: We used data on immigrants from the neighborhood effects on health and well-being (NEHW) study, conducted in 47 randomly selected greater Toronto area neighborhoods (sample = 916), and a study of one low-income, immigrant receiving neighborhood (IRN) (sample = 600). We conducted logistic regression models for depression (Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale, CES-D) and social capital types: bonding (social cohesion and informal social control), bridging (group membership) and linking (engagement in political activities), while adjusting for different covariates. Results: The prevalence of depression was 22.9 % in IRN and 21.4 % in NEHW. The associations between social capital types and depression differed in each sample. Lower social cohesion (bonding) was associated with higher depression in NEHW only. Lower linking social capital (never participated in political activities) was associated with lower depression in IRN only. These associations were consistent after adjustment for different covariates. Conclusions: Results suggest that social cohesion might have a protective effect from depression among immigrants in NEHW. In IRN, lower linking social capital associated with lower depression might reflect opposite direction association. Bridging social capital was not associated with depression in either sample, indicating that current community building might be insufficient to impact depression. Different pathways might explain how depression among immigrants is impacted by social capital types operating in different neighborhood settings; this could be examined in future longitudinal studies.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)529-538
Number of pages10
JournalSocial Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2016


  • Bonding
  • Bridging and linking social capital
  • Depression
  • Immigrant mental health
  • Toronto, Canada

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Epidemiology
  • Social Psychology
  • Health(social science)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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