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08-04-2019 | Uitgave 7/2019

Quality of Life Research 7/2019

Effect of neighborhood and individual social capital in early childhood on oral health-related quality of life: a 7-year cohort study

Quality of Life Research > Uitgave 7/2019
Jessica Klöckner Knorst, Gabriele Rissotto Menegazzo, Bruno Emmanuelli, Fausto Medeiros Mendes, Thiago Machado Ardenghi
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Social capital incorporates both contextual and individual levels of interactions and influences health. The aim of this study was to assess the influence of neighborhood and individual social capital on oral health-related quality of life (OHRQoL) of children.


This 7-year cohort study was conducted with 639 children (1–5 years) who had been evaluated initially with a survey administered in 2010. OHRQoL was assessed using the Brazilian version of the Child Perception Questionnaire (CPQ8-10) in the follow-up. Contextual variables related to social capital were collected during the baseline and included the presence of social class associations, workers’ associations, and cultural community centers. Individual variables included individual social networks, socioeconomic variables, and oral health measures (dental caries and overjet). A multilevel Poisson regression model was used to investigate the influence of individual and contextual characteristics on OHRQoL. With this approach, we calculated incidence rate ratio (IRR) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI).


From the 639 preschoolers examined at baseline, a total of 449 children were re-evaluated after 7 years (70.3% response rate). Children who lived in areas with social class associations at baseline reported better OHRQoL in the follow-up (IRR 0.79; 95% CI 0.67–0.93). Regarding individual variables, low socioeconomic status, poor clinical conditions, and weak social networks were also associated with higher overall CPQ8-10 scores.


High levels of individual and neighborhood social capital in early childhood positively influenced children’s OHRQoL. This finding is important in planning public health policies to improve children’s health and well-being.

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