Civic Engagement and Morbidity: Evidence from Poor Refugee Communities in Jordan

Marwan Khawaja, American University of Beirut
Mylene Salem-Tewtel, American University of Beirut
Maya I. Obeid, American University of Beirut
Matilda Saliba, American University of Beirut

This study examines the impact of social capital on morbidity in poor refugee camps in Jordan using recent (1999) household survey data. The focus on the influence of civic engagement on self-rated health among randomly selected adults. Findings from a logistic regression model show that civic engagement as measured primarily by membership in clubs and associations has a significant impact on morbidity net of the effects of demographic, human capital and health risk factors. The final model show that the effects of control variables used are in the anticipated direction, with age, marital status, health risk, education and poverty are statistically significant. However, the findings pertaining to social capital hold for men but not women. It is suggested that low literacy and persisting patriarchy may account for the weak impact of social capital on health among women in this context. Policy implications of the findings are discussed.

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Presented in Poster Session 5: Health and Mortality