Degree Name

DrPH (Doctor of Public Health)


Public Health

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Deborah Leachman Slawson

Committee Members

Katie Baker, Megan Quinn


The study was conducted to explore the role of social capital in the implementation of Fruit and Vegetable Incentive Programs (FVIP) through a case study of the Appalachian Farmacy (AF) program and to fill a gap in literature on social capital utility in the implementation and evaluation of FVIPs. The study was guided by a conceptual model adopted from Berkman et al. (2000) to identify the mechanisms through which social networks can impact health. A qualitative content analysis was conducted retrospectively on secondary data from the evaluation of AF program to identify social capital attributes. In addition, the study conducted two focus groups with AF participants and four interviews with AF program administrators to explore their perceptions on the role of social capital in the implementation of FVIPs using a phenomenological approach. The study utilized both inductive and deductive analysis techniques with the conceptual model as the guide for analysis. The Bengtsson’s four steps for conducting content analysis were used for AF content analysis and Tracy’s (2013) two-level coding was used to analyze the focus groups and interviews. All the findings were triangulated and mapped on the study’s framework to identify the main and emergent themes. The findings revealed the main avenues for social networks were: cooking classes, farmers markets, recruitment sites, and a low-income housing complex. The main social capital 3 mechanisms were: instrumental and informational social support; social participation and engagement; and social influence. The main actors in the networks were the program administrators, market vendors, and other participants. Lastly, the health pathways identified were the changes in perceptions towards diet and health. The emergent themes revealed that barriers to access and individual characteristics were potential moderating themes, and case management by the program administrators was a potential mediating theme to program implementation. The study showed that the model was effective in exploring social capital in FVIPs. It highlighted the role that social networks, program actors and social capital play in implementation of public health interventions. Social capital may play an important role in health promotion and more research is needed to identify the mediating influences of the model.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.

Included in

Public Health Commons