An earlier study of our research group formulated a conceptual framework of social capital for First Nation communities and developed a culturally appropriate instrument for its measurement. We tested this instrument further with the Manitoba (Canada) First Nations Regional Health Survey, 2003. Using data from this survey, we investigated the bonding dimension of the social capital conceptual framework, with a total sample of 2,765 First Nations individuals living in 24 Manitoba First Nations communities. Twenty seven Likert-scale survey questions measured aspects of bonding social capital, socially-invested resources, ethos, and networks. Validation analyses included an evaluation of internal consistency, factor analyses to explore how well the items clustered together into the components of the social capital framework, and the ability of the items to discriminate across the communities represented in the sample. Cronbach’s Alpha was computed on the 27 scale items, producing an Alpha of 0.84 indicating high internal consistency. The factor analyses produced five distinct factors with a total explained variance of 54.3%. Lastly, a one-way analysis of variance run by community produced highly significant F-ratios between the groups on all twenty-seven bonding items. The culturally-sensitive items included in the social capital framework were found to be an appropriate tool to measure bonding aspects among Manitoba First Nations communities. Research and policy implications are discussed.


The authors wish to acknowledge Ms. Lyna Hart and Mr. Garry Munro for their feedback to the manuscript. The study was funded in part by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

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