Project Title: Social Capital and Disability in Bangladesh (SCDB): a population-based study using cross-sectional individual and ecological data
Introduction : People living with disabilities face the risk of discrimination. Social capital can improve socioeconomic outcomes, including health and education. The aim of this study is to test the guiding hypothesis that the risk of discrimination of people living with disability is modified by access to various forms of both individual and collective social capital.
Objectives : The general objective of the SCDB study is to investigate the role of social capital for the risk of discrimination among a sample of people living with disabilities in Bangladesh. The specific objectives are: (i) to design and implement an ecological study of collective social capital across a selection of Bangladeshi districts; (ii) to design and implement a household survey to collect individual level of information (background, social capital, and experiences of discrimination); and to quantitatively model the effects of collective and individual level social capital on the risk of discrimination.
The guiding hypothesis of the Study is that access to individual and collective social capital can affect the risk of discrimination and the ability to manage discrimination among this group of persons.
Rationale : Understanding the potential role of social capital for the risk of discrimination of people living with disabilities is important for both research and policy development. Any role of social capital in this regard would constitute an important contribution to the current evidence base on social capital. If the Study is able to find evidence to support the hypothesis that social capital may play a role in this regard would contribute to the development of policies to mitigate the risk or impact of discrimination of this group of persons.
Methods and analysis : Two types of data will be collected. First, an individual level survey will be conducted to collect information on around 2,400 people living with disability in Bangladesh. Second, an ecological survey will be conducted to collect data on collective social capital. The data will be analyzed by means of multi-level, statistical analysis.
Ethics and dissemination : The study is seeking ethical clearance from the Bangladesh Medical Research Council (BMRC). To ensure participants’ integrity, the study will include only persons between the ages of 18 and 59, persons with physical, visual, or hearing impairments (not mental or cognitive impairments). The findings of the study will be disseminated by means of journal articles, briefing notes, and non-technical reports. In addition, the findings of the study will be used to inform policy debates, workshops, and seminars inside and outside of Bangladesh.
Discussion : The present study aims at bringing new evidence on the potential of social capital to affect the lives person with disabilities. Findings will be of significant policy relevance. There are a number of risks associated with the study. Measuring discrimination and social capital is challenging and doing so in a poor (specially low income countries) setting is even more difficult. The study is a collaboration between researchers in Sweden, with experience of conducting research on social capital in low-income countries, and the Center for Disability in Development, a national organization in Bangladesh with extensive experience of working with people living with disabilities.