Conceptual Understanding of Social Capital in First Nations Communities: An Illustrative Description



The present study resulted from a program of research that seeks to characterize and measure social capital in First Nations communities, for subsequent theorization and empirical testing of its potential as a health determinant. The study consisted of two phases with distinct methodologies. The first phase of the study used qualitative methodology to contribute to the development of a conceptual framework specific to First Nations communities. The article reports on findings of the first phase and provides a more concrete understanding of what would constitute social capital in First Nations communities. It details the conceptual framework of social capital in First Nations communities derived from the concept analysis and the qualitative study. It then illustrates these ideas in the context of the three First Nations communities that participated in the study, describing current community features that could be considered as descriptors of higher or lower stocks of social capital. The article finishes by discussing examples of plausible links between social capital and health, as well as policy implications.

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