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Am Behav Sci. 2005 Apr 1;48(8):1102-1123.

The Effects of Peer Group Network Properties on Drug Use Among Homeless Youth.

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  • 1University of California-Los Angeles.

Abstract

The authors examine how the properties of peer networks affect amphetamine, cocaine, and injection drug use over 3 months among newly homeless adolescents, aged 12 to 20 in Los Angeles (n = 217; 83% retention at 3 months) and Melbourne (n = 119; 72% retention at 3 months). Several hypotheses regarding the effects of social network properties on the peer influence process are developed. Multivariate logistic regression analyses show that higher concentrations of homeless peers in networks at recruitment were associated with increased likelihood of amphetamine and cocaine use at 3-month follow-up. Higher concentrations of injecting peers were associated with increased risk of injection drug use 3 months later. Change in network structure over time toward increased concentrations of homeless peers was associated with increased risk of cocaine use and injecting. Higher density networks at baseline were positively associated with increased likelihood of cocaine and amphetamine use at 3 months.

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