241067 Social Network Analysis and Digital Media Prevention Programming for Homeless Youth

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Eric Rice, PhD , School of Social Work, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Anamika Barman-Adhikari, MA, MSW, PhD Student , School of Social Work, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Julie A. Cederbaum, PhD, MSW, MPH , School of Social Work, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Objective: There is a growing interest in examining how social media may be used to deliver prevention programming. One of the unique benefits of social media is the ability to explicitly examine the social network processes which mediate behavior change outcomes. Because social networking websites like Facebook or MySpace allow one to view social network ties, one can use social network methods to explicitly model the diffusion processes across social network ties. This presentation will use social network analysis to examine the acceptability of a youth-led, hybrid face-to-face and online social networking HIV prevention program for homeless youth. Method: Seven peer leaders (PL) engaged face-to-face homeless youth (F2F) in the creation of digital media projects (e.g. YouTube videos). PL and F2F recruited online youth (OY) to participate in MySpace and Facebook communities where digital media was disseminated and discussed. The resulting social networks were assessed with respect to size, rate of growth, density, relative centrality of positions, and “homophily” of ties (extent to which ties occur between like individuals in a network). Results: 7 PL, 53 F2F, and 103 OY created two large networks. After the first 50 F2F youth participated, online networks entered a rapid growth phase. OY youth were among the most central youth in these networks. Younger age and females were disproportionately connected to like youth. Conclusion: Social network analysis revealed important dimensions along which diffusion activity can occur. Social networks are an important outcome which should be assessed when developing new network-based prevention programs.

Learning Areas:
Communication and informatics
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
To identify social network processes and patterns which can facilitate more effective intervention delivery and development for online prevention programs targeting homeless youth. To examine social network processes which can mediate behavior change in an online social media-based HIV prevention program for homeless youth.

Keywords: Homelessness, Internet Tools

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I oversee the design and development of HIV prevention research programs.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.