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Soc Sci Med. 2018 Oct 19;220:81-101. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2018.10.013. [Epub ahead of print]

Use of social network analysis in the development, dissemination, implementation, and sustainability of health behavior interventions for adults: A systematic review.

Author information

1
Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, Department of Sociomedical Sciences, 722 West 168th Street, New York, NY, 10032, USA. Electronic address: rs3108@cumc.columbia.edu.
2
Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, Department of Sociomedical Sciences, 722 West 168th Street, New York, NY, 10032, USA. Electronic address: ml3440@cumc.columbia.edu.
3
Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, Department of Sociomedical Sciences, 722 West 168th Street, New York, NY, 10032, USA. Electronic address: leb2199@cumc.columbia.edu.
4
Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, Department of Epidemiology, 722 West 168th Street, New York, NY, 10032, USA. Electronic address: dac2179@cumc.columbia.edu.
5
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Department of Oncological Sciences, One Gustave L. Levy Place, New York, NY, 10029, USA. Electronic address: lina.jandorf@mssm.edu.
6
Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, Elm and Carlton Streets, Buffalo, NY, 14263, USA. Electronic address: Deborah.Erwin@roswellpark.org.
7
Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, Elm and Carlton Streets, Buffalo, NY, 14263, USA. Electronic address: Elizabeth.Bouchard@roswellpark.org.

Abstract

Interest in conceptualizing, measuring, and applying social network analysis (SNA) in public health has grown tremendously in recent years. While these studies have broadened our understanding of the role that social networks play in health, there has been less research that has investigated the application of SNA to inform health-related interventions. This systematic review aimed to capture the current applied use of SNA in the development, dissemination, implementation, and sustainability of health behavior interventions for adults. We identified 52 articles published between 2004 and 2016. A wide variety of study settings were identified, most commonly in the US context and most often related to sexual health and HIV prevention. We found that 38% of articles explicitly applied SNA to inform some aspect of interventions. Use of SNA to inform intervention development (as opposed to dissemination, implementation, or sustainability) was most common. The majority of articles represented in this review (n = 39) were quantitative studies, and 13 articles included a qualitative component. Partial networks were most represented across articles, and over 100 different networks measures were assessed. The most commonly described measures were network density, size, and degree centrality. Finally, very few articles defined SNA and not all articles using SNA were theoretically-informed. Given the nascent and heterogeneous state of the literature in this area, this is an important time for the field to coalesce on terminology, measures, and theoretical frameworks. We highlight areas for researchers to advance work on the application of SNA in the design, dissemination, implementation and sustainability of behavioral interventions.

KEYWORDS:

Health behavior; Implementation; Intervention; Social network analysis

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