Health and the structure of adolescent social networks

Steven A. Haas, David R. Schaefer, Olga Kornienko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

92 Scopus citations


Much research has explored the role of social networks in promoting health through the provision of social support. However, little work has examined how social networks themselves may be structured by health. This article investigates the link between individuals' health and the characteristics of their social network positions.We first develop theoretical predictions for how health may influence the structure of adolescent networks. We then test these predictions using longitudinal analysis of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health). We find important relationships between the health status of adolescents and the characteristics of the social network positions within which they are embedded. Overall we find that adolescents in poor health form smaller local networks and occupy less central global positions than their healthy peers. These results also have implications for social network research, expanding the scope of factors responsible for the network positions individuals occupy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)424-439
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of health and social behavior
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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