Bonding and Bridging Social Capital among an Ethnic Minority Group: The Case of the Japanese Community in the Greater Boston Area

By Hitomi Naganuma, Megumi Inoue and Margaret Lombe.

Published by The International Journal of Diverse Identities

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Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: November 18, 2016 Free Download

Ethnic minority groups continue to be the most vulnerable population in the United States. This is especially evident during traumatic events such as terrorism and natural disaster. They often report difficulties in accessing and obtaining appropriate support from formal service providers. Reasons for this vary, and may include language, cultural barriers, and mistrust. In recent years, research has attempted to understand the role of community in mitigating outcomes for minority groups. Social capital (bonding, bridging, and linking), for example, has been identified as a survival strategy for ethnic minority groups during traumatic events. Building on this body of knowledge, we investigate if and how different types of social capital had an effect on the Japanese community in the greater Boston area following the Boston Marathon bombing of 2013. Results of this study suggest that individuals who only had bonding social capital tended to face more difficulties adjusting than people who had both bonding and bridging social capital following the bombing. Further, people who were in the United States for a short period of time, those who had low English proficiency, and those who came to the United States to study reported more difficulties adjusting after the incident. To conclude, we propose strategies for community actions with potential to enhance the types of social capital available to communities. The goal is to promote and strengthen survival mechanisms.

Keywords: Bonding Social Capital, Bridging Social Capital, Ethnic Minority, Japanese, Community Gathering

International Journal of Diverse Identities, Volume 16, Issue 4, December 2016, pp.15-24. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: November 18, 2016 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 688.173KB)).

Dr. Hitomi Naganuma

Clinical Psychologist, JB Line, Inc., Lexington, Massachusetts, USA

Megumi Inoue

Assistant Professor, George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia, USA

Dr. Margaret Lombe

Associate Professor, Boston College, Boston, Massachusetts, USA