(Presentation by Al Condeluci, PhD CLASS at the BAS PA Autism Training Conference June 10, 2015)

Social Capital refers to relationships we develop and grow within the context of the various communities we join or associate with. What makes these relationships unique are that they support or prop us up in areas we are not strong or capable .


Social Capital relate to a broader concept of Interdependence. All people have strengths and weaknesses – Interdependence is when we use our strengths to build relationships that help support our weaknesses.

Micro vs Macro Perspective

• Micro – focuses on the person and ways that they can change to be more successful or engaged (Therapeutic)
• Macro – focuses on changing the culture, environment, or perceptions in both formal (laws, policy) and informal (relationships) ways

To understand Social Capital we must first think about the depth and impact of our relationships.

Consider this question!

The Magic Wand

• If you could wish for 3 things for yourself or for someone you love, what would they be?

When this question is asked the most common 3 things are:

• Healthfulness
• Happiness
• Longevity

Research Shows That

• Healthfulness
• Happiness
• Longevity

Are all related to – Social Capital!



Social Capital is also related to:

  • Tolerance
  • Achievement
  • Kindness
  • Advancement
  • Fairness
  • Self Esteem
  • Forgiveness

Social Capital

  • People getting jobs
  • People keeping jobs (getting along)
  • Getting around in the community
  • Finding places to live
  • Experiencing life success/achievement
  • Keeping psychologically stable
  • It changes the way we think

What is Social Capital?

It is nothing more than relationships and friendships that people have in their lives. The natural supports that you have to make your live better.

Social Capital represents the resources available to individuals through their social affiliations and membership in community organizations. It refers to aspects of social relationships that act as resources for individuals and facilitate collective action for mutual benefit.

Value Added

• Instrumental – tangible actions
• Emotional – Just knowing support is there
• Informational – Learning things that help

“If you belong to no groups and decide to join one, you cut your risk of dying in half over the next year” – Robert Putnam

Understanding Social Capital

  • How it manifests
  • Types and distinctions
  • How you build it
  • Maintaining and Nurturing

Major Domains in Relationships

• Acquaintanceships – people we know
• Friendships – People we do things with
• Covenant – People we love

Bridging Social Capital

• This is when connect with people who are essentially different from us, but we have some affinity that creates a bridge that we use to relate. These relationships grow us because we begin to accept differences through the security of the affinity that started the connection.

Bonding Social Capital

• These are the relationships that we have a strong connection of similarity. When this strong identity causes us to relate easily and quickly. These commonalities can be ethnicity, religion, age, experience and other factors that make us similar This basic identification creates an easy empathy and sympathy and sense of security.

Measuring Social Capital

• Sociograms – Social Network Inventories
• These are social maps that identify relationships in the three major domains
• People we know
• People we do things with
• People we love

Community Engagement Survey

  • Social Trust
  • Social Support
  • Diversity of Friendships
  • Conventional Political Participation
  • Civic/Community Leadership
  • Informal Socializing
  • Associational Involvement

Interdependence Network

  • International Reach
  • Broad and Diverse Constituency Sharing and Comparing Actions
  • Promoting Macro Change
  • www.buildingsocialcapital.org
  • @INsocialcapital on Twitter

Clusters of Connection

  • Family
  • Neighborhood
  • Religious
  • School
  • Work
  • Clubs, Groups, Associations
  • Political Parties

Building Social Capital and Natural Supports

• In order to build social capital you must be active (or at least present) in various clusters or communities.

4 Steps to Social Capital

• Identify our key areas of interest/affinities
• Find the matching cluster or community
• Understand how communities behave
• Finding a gatekeeper to acceptance

The magic of community is when similarity overrides difference an creates a bond. Through this bond people begin to help each other and that synergy creates an upward effect for everyone involved.

“In the end we are all separate. Our stories, no matter how similar, come to a fork and diverge. We are drawn to each other
because of our similarities; but it is our differences we must learn to respect.” – J.W. VonGoethe

“In order to succeed, we must first believe that we can.” – Nikos Kazantzakis

“Of all the things which wisdom provides to make us entirely happy, much of the greatest is the possession of friendship” – Epicurus

Al Condeluci, PhD.
1400 South Braddock Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15218 412-683-7100 x 2122
@acondeluci on Twitter

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