Peer social network processes and adolescent health behaviors: A systematic review

Shannon Montgomery, Michael Donnelly, Pratchi Bhatnagar, Angela Carlin, Frank Kee, Ruth Hunter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Research has highlighted the importance of peers for determining health behaviors in adolescents, yet these behaviors have typically been investigated in isolation. We need to understand common network processes operating across health behaviors collectively, in order to discern how social network processes impact health behaviors. Thus, this systematic review of studies investigated adolescent peer social networks and health behaviors. A search of six databases (CINAHL, Education Resources Information Centre, Embase, International Bibliography of the Social Sciences, Medline and PsycINFO) identified 55 eligible studies. The mean age of the participants was 15.1 years (range 13–18; 51.1% female). Study samples ranged from 143 to 20,745 participants. Studies investigated drinking (31%), smoking (22%), both drinking and smoking (13%) substance use (18%), physical activity (9%) and diet or weight management (7%). Study design was largely longitudinal (n = 41, 73%) and cross-sectional (n = 14, 25%). All studies were set in school and all but one study focused on school-based friendship networks. The Newcastle-Ottawa Scale was used to assess risk of bias: studies were assessed as good (51%), fair (16%) or poor (33%). The synthesis of results revolved around two network behavior patterns: 1) health behavior similarity within a social network, driven by homophilic social selection and/or social influence, and 2) popularity: health behavior engagement in relation to changes in social status; or network popularity predicting health behaviors. Adolescents in denser networks had statistically significant lower levels of harmful behavior (n = 2/2, 100%). Findings suggest that social network processes are important factors in adolescent health behaviors.
LanguageEnglish
Article number105900
Pages1-19
Number of pages19
JournalPreventive Medicine
Volume130
Early online date13 Nov 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2020

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Adolescent Behavior
Health Behavior
Social Support
Drinking
Smoking
Information Centers
Adolescent Health
Social Sciences
Bibliography
Databases
Exercise
Diet
Education
Weights and Measures

Keywords

  • Adolescents
  • Health behavior change
  • Health behaviors
  • Social networks
  • Systematic review

Cite this

Montgomery, Shannon ; Donnelly, Michael ; Bhatnagar, Pratchi ; Carlin, Angela ; Kee, Frank ; Hunter, Ruth. / Peer social network processes and adolescent health behaviors: A systematic review. In: Preventive Medicine. 2020 ; Vol. 130. pp. 1-19.
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Peer social network processes and adolescent health behaviors: A systematic review. / Montgomery, Shannon; Donnelly, Michael ; Bhatnagar, Pratchi; Carlin, Angela; Kee, Frank; Hunter, Ruth.

In: Preventive Medicine, Vol. 130, 105900, 31.01.2020, p. 1-19.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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