The Role of Trust for Choices of Additional Health Resources in the Conditions of Educational and Contextual Constraints in West-Europe
Sociology Ghent University (Belgium) Amersfoort, The Netherlands
Sociology Ghent UNiversity Ghent, Belgium
The present paper aims to empirically investigate whether an actor?s personal education, generalized trust and contextual embeddedness influence his or her choice to mobilize additional health resources. Additional health resources mean in this study private or public resources which are able to provide health support. To answer the study questions we analyze actors? choices of health resources through developing models based on the insights and concepts from several sociological theories (Lindenberg, 2001; Coleman, 1990). The main proposition in this study is that the choice of additional resources is facilitated by personal education and generalized trust. Recent empirical studies have shown the presence of positive effects of education on the mobilization of health resources (Ross & Wu, 1995). The effects of personal education on the mobilization of resources could be either direct or indirect. Generalized trust, which means the belief that others around you can be trusted, could well be a mediator here, because on the one hand it is determined by the years of education (Helliwell & Putnam, 1999), and on the other hand it facilitates the mobilization of resources and plays an important role in personal interactions (Barrera, 2005). Our study model predicts that the effect of personal education on the mobilization of additional health resources is mediated by the actor?s generalized trust. Subsequently, we hypothesize that persons are more trusting if they are more educated, and that those actors who are more trusting are more likely to mobilize additional health resources. Moreover, we consider the possibility that people?s decision or choice to mobilize additional health resources could also be influenced by certain characteristics of the environment in which an actor is embedded, some of which could facilitate or hinder actors? choices (Coleman, 1990). To test the study hypotheses the data are employed from the cross-national European Social Survey performed in 2004/5. The countries included in the present analysis are Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom. The statistical analyses of the data, using multilevel analyses, provide support for a number of the study predictions.