Online Program

Associations between drug ego-network characteristics and drug use behaviors among YMSM

Monday, November 2, 2015

Patrick Janulis, PhD, Department of Medical Social Sciences, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL
Michelle Birkett, PhD, Department of Medical Social Sciences, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL
Gregory Phillips II, PhD, MS, Institute for Sexual and Gender Minority Health and Wellbeing, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL
Brian Mustanski, PhD, Department of Medical Social Sciences, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL
Young men who have sex with men (YMSM) experience elevated risk of illicit drug use that is associated with negative physical and psychological health outcomes. Yet, few studies have examined drug-use networks among YMSM despite the potential impact of these networks in shaping drug use behavior. The current study provides preliminary insight into these drug-use networks by examining alcohol/drug ego-networks and partner characteristics among a diverse sample of YMSM. Participants (n = 175) provided information on 1914 alcohol and drug use partners and reported on the relationships between members of their drug use network (Density = 0.177, SD = 0.13). Multilevel models were constructed to examine the network and dyadic characteristics predicting both illicit drug use and frequency of alcohol and drug use. Results indicated that, after controlling for dyad level characteristics (e.g., frequency of contact and sexual partnership), network properties (e.g., degree, density, and effective size) were significant predictors of both illicit drug use as well as frequency of alcohol and drug use. More specifically, individuals with cohesive networks (i.e., high density or low effective size) may be less likely to use illicit drugs, compared to alcohol use alone, but tend to engage in drug and alcohol use more frequently with their drug use partners. Accordingly, these finding suggest that network characteristics have complex associations with alcohol and drug behaviors and may serve as important social contextual sources of influence on the health YMSM.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Identify drug ego-network correlates of drug use behavior among YMSM

Keyword(s): Network Analysis, Drug Abuse

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have authored several papers on drug use behaviors and focused my research career on the study of social context influences on these behaviors through the use network analysis and dyadic multilevel models.
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.

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