Anxiolytic-hypnotic drug use associated with trust, social participation, and the miniaturization of community: A multilevel analysis

Kristina Johnell, Martin Lindström, Arne Melander, Jan Sundquist, Charli Eriksson, Juan Merlo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


The concept of social capital has gained wide interest in public health research in recent years. However, we suggest a concept that was introduced and developed by Fukuyama, named "miniaturization of community", as an alternative to that of social capital. The concept of miniaturization of community emphasizes that a high level of social participation can be accompanied by a low level of trust, both at the individual and at the community level, which may in turn result in social disorder and lack of social cohesion. When society becomes more disordered, people may tend to feel more insecure and anxious. Use of anxiolytic-hypnotic drugs (AHDs) could under such circumstances be a coping strategy. In this study, we first wanted to investigate whether the contextual component of the miniaturization of community concept (i.e. area high social participation and low trust) is associated with individual AHD use, over and above individual characteristics. Secondly, we aimed to study whether people living in the same municipality share a similar probability of AHD use, after adjusting for individual characteristics, and if so, how large this contextual phenomenon is. We used data on 20,319 women and 17,850 men aged 18-79 years from 58 municipalities in six regions in central Sweden, who participated in the Life & Health year 2000 postal survey. We applied multilevel logistic regression analysis with individuals at the first level and areas at the second level. Our results suggest that living in an area with a high level of miniaturization of community seems to be associated with individual AHD use, beyond people's individual characteristics including their own level of social participation and trust. The concept of miniaturization of community may be an extension of the classic concept of social capital and may increase our understanding of contextual effects on health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1205-1214
Number of pages10
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Anxiolytic-hypnotic drugs
  • Miniaturization of community
  • Multilevel analysis
  • Social capital
  • Social participation
  • Sweden
  • Trust


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