Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology

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Volume 5 Issue 2 (May 1995), Pages fmi-fmi, 75-146

Macrosocial determinants of social integration: Social class and area effect (pages 105-119)


Theory and research on social support have paid little attention to the existence of important macrosocial variables determining level and content of social relationships. This study examines variations in social integration as a function of social class and residential area characteristics. Results for 234 subjects living in high and low risk neighbourhoods indicated that differences between higher and lower social class groups follow different patterns in different residential areas. Also, same social class position appeared to have different significance as a function of residential area characteristics. The levels of three social integration measures—community integration and satisfaction, community association and participation, and contribution in community organizations—were significantly higher for lower class in low risk neighbourhoods than in high risk ones. However, significant differences were found in only one measure for higher social class groups, with higher levels of community association and participation in high risk neighbourhoods than in low risk ones. The discussion examines a ‘social impoverishment’ hypothesis for high risk environments, and proposes possible protective factors for higher status residents. Relations between formal and informal sources of support, and implications for social intervention strategies are also considered.

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