Social participation, health literacy, and health and well-being : a cross-sectional study in Ghana

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

70 Citations (Scopus)


Numerous studies attest to the salubriousness of social participation across contexts. Factors such as health-related behaviour, health risk aversion, and psychosocial traits partly explain this association. While a study of these factors contributes to an understanding of the role that social participation plays in health-related outcomes, significant gaps still exist in this field of investigation. In particular, existing studies have not explored the relationship between social participation and health literacy and how it affects health and well-being adequately. This paper addresses this gap by examining the responses of some 779 rural and urban residents in Ashanti Region in Ghana. The study used path analyses within structural equation modelling (SEM) to assess the mediational role of health literacy in the association between social participation (religious participation, volunteer activities and group membership), and health status and subjective well-being. All the proxies of social participation significantly predicted health literacy. It was also evident that social participation influences health and well-being substantially. After controlling for socio-demographic variables, religious participation and group membership indirectly predicted well-being and health status through health literacy. Volunteer activities showed a negative indirect effect; thus, social participation does not always have a favourable effect on health and well-being. However, the findings suggest that overall, enhancing social participation may be promising for effective health promotion.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)263-270
Number of pages8
JournalSSM - Population Health
Early online date9 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018


  • Health literacy
  • Health promotion
  • Social capital
  • Social participation
  • Well-being


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