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Several studies have documented a protective association between social trust and mental and physical health, but gaps in knowledge remain. Debates regarding the contextual versus individual nature of social trust are ongoing; research from low- and middle-income countries is lacking, and study designs have been limited for causal inference. To address these gaps, we examined the association between social trust and depressive symptoms using three waves of the National Income Dynamics Study, a longitudinal South African survey. We used individual fixed-effects models to assess the association between changes in scores on the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale Short Form (CES-D-10) and in individual-level and district-level personalized and generalized trust among 15,670 individuals completing at least two waves of the NIDS adult questionnaire. High individual-level generalized trust was unexpectedly associated with increased depressive symptoms scores while district generalized trust did not show an association. We also found a cross-level interaction between individual and district-level personalized trust. High individual trust was associated with increased depressive symptoms scores when district trust was low; however, as district-level trust increased, higher individual trust was associated with reduced depressive symptoms. Our unexpected results suggest that trust may not always be beneficial for depressive symptoms, but rather, that its effects may depend on context. In the South African setting where social trust is low, being very likely to trust may be associated with worse depressive symptoms in some circumstances.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Social science & medicine (1982)
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A serotonin uptake inhibitor that is used as an antidepressive agent. It has been shown to be effective in patients with major depressive disorders and other subsets of depressive disorders. It is generally more useful in depressive disorders associated with insomnia and anxiety. This drug does not aggravate psychotic symptoms in patients with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorders. (From AMA Drug Evaluations Annual, 1994, p309)
An independent agency within the Executive Branch of the United States Government. It administers a national social insurance program whereby employees, employers, and the self-employed pay contributions into pooled trust funds. Part of the contributions go into a separate hospital insurance trust fund for workers at age 65 to provide help with medical expenses. Other programs include the supplemental social security income program for the aged, blind, and disabled and the Old Age Survivors and Disability Insurance Program. It became an independent agency March 31, 1995. It had previously been part of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, later the Department of Health and Human Services. (From United States Government Manual, 1994-95)
A late 20th-century philosophical approach or style of cultural analysis that seeks to reveal the cultural or social construction of concepts conventionally assumed to be natural or universal. (from E.R. DuBose, The Illusion of Trust: Toward a Medical Theological Ethics in the Postmodern Age, Kluwer, 1995)
A personality trait rendering the individual acceptable in social or interpersonal relations. It is related to social acceptance, social approval, popularity, social status, leadership qualities, or any quality making him a socially desirable companion.
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