Work-place social capital and smoking cessation: The Finnish Public Sector Study

Anne Kouvonen, Tuula Oksanen, Jussi Vahtera, Ari Väänänen, Roberto De Vogli, Marko Elovainio, Jaana Pentti, Stavroula Leka, Thomas Cox, Mika Kivimäki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Aims: To examine whether high social capital at work is associated with an increased likelihood of smoking cessation in baseline smokers. Design: Prospective cohort study. Setting: Finland. Participants: A total of 4853 employees who reported to be smokers in the baseline survey in 2000-2002 (response rate 68%) and responded to a follow-up survey on smoking status in 2004-2005 (response rate 77%). Measurements: Work-place social capital was assessed using a validated and psychometrically tested eight-item measure. Control variables included sex, age, socio-economic position, marital status, place of work, heavy drinking, physical activity, body mass index and physician-diagnosed depression. Findings: In multi-level logistic regression models adjusted for all the covariates, the odds for being a non-smoker at follow-up were 1.26 [95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.03-1.55] times higher for baseline smokers who reported high individual-level social capital than for their counterparts with low social capital. In an analysis stratified by socio-economic position, a significant association between individual-level social capital and smoking cessation was observed in the high socio-economic group [odds ratio (OR) (95% CI) = 1.63 (1.01-2.63)], but not in intermediate [(OR = 1.10 (0.83-1.47)] or low socio-economic groups [(OR = 1.28 (0.86-1.91)]. Work unit-level social capital was not associated with smoking cessation. Conclusions: If the observed associations are causal, these findings suggest that high perceived social capital at work may facilitate smoking cessation among smokers in higher-status jobs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1857-1865
Number of pages9
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Multi-level analysis
  • Prospective cohort study
  • Psychosocial factors
  • Smoking cessation
  • Social capital
  • Work

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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