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In particular, we are interested in third places , informal gathering places apart from home (the first place) and work (the second place). Oldenburg, the originator of this concept, defined third places as “havens of sociability where conversation is the main activity and conviviality prevails” (2003, p. 1373). In his writings about third place, Oldenburg has argued third places give extended meaning to the concept of the support group. That is, they provide “not only emotional support but practical assistance as well. As acquaintances evolve into friends, the desire to help others grows. Needed items are loaned or given, as is skill, advice, and expertise. Time, effort, and money are saved when needs and problems are mentioned in the company of friends” ( Oldenburg , 2003, p. 1375). This description is consistent with social capital theory, yet Oldenburg and other scholars have failed to identify the explicit connection. It does, however, fit well with a theoretical framework we have developed to explain the process of social capital development for health and well-being (Glover & Parry, 2005).

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