Scientists designing network-based interventions intending to improve the adoption or maintenance of healthy behaviors are well-advised to classify potential adopters into network roles, such as opinion leaders, brokers, members, and isolates, and to work closely with existing opinion leaders. In past studies focusing on HIV, opinion-leader interventions have had mixed results. This may be addressed, in part, by empirically validating these network roles. To this end, we used latent class analysis to test whether people's social connections fall into mutually exclusive and exhaustive subgroups of social capital that represent theorized network roles well with a dataset collected in Nyangana, Namibia (n = 400). A four-class model best fits the dataset, but the categories identified do not clearly represent the theorized roles. Rather, this study revealed the following four network classes: single-group members (59%), connectors (24%), single-group loyalists (15%), and selective connectors (2%). The implications of their findings for opinion-leader interventions focused on HIV are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1274-1281
Number of pages8
JournalAIDS Care - Psychological and Socio-Medical Aspects of AIDS/HIV
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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