Our Roybal Center is focused on the recognition that complex social network structures play an important role in individual health. The two overarching goals of our work are (1) to ask significant questions about the role of social networks in producing specific outcomes related to health and well-being, and (2) to develop methods of answering such questions involving real social networks in which behavioral information relevant to health and well-being can be measured. Our Roybal Center will focus on the social network underpinnings of some of the most pressing problems facing the health and well-being of the elderly in the U.S. today, such as obesity and cancer, using a variety of novel methods applied to populations of diverse ages. Our Center will emphasize the use of internet data collection and the experimental manipulation of network properties;in addition, we also expect to continue to exploit our extant data, including our unique Framingham Heart Study Social Network. We will examine the impact of the topology and dynamic functioning of social networks. We will examine both inperson and online social networks for the effects of patterns of interpersonal network connections on health and well being, and we will study how health and well being are affected by the flow of phenomena across network ties.
Our specific aims are to: (1) create a Center that contributes to the development of new methods for understanding social network effects on health in new areas, (2) fund pilot projects that examine how network topology, particularly in online social networks, affects health and well-being, (3) fund pilot projects that examine how the flow of health behaviors and states through network structures occurs in both "real life" social networks, such as the Framingham Heart Study Social Network, and in online networks, (4) help translate the findings of pilot projects into concrete recommendations for helping people improve health behaviors and well being, (5) help translate the findings of pilot projects and other social network research into policy recommendations for government and other stakeholders, (6) broadly promote and coordinate research with our separate social networks-focused Program Project on issues related to health and well being in the elderly.

Public Health Relevance

Our work examines how people's embeddedness in social networks affects their health. Pilots will be chosen for their potential impact and policy relevance to health issues and quality of life in aging populations. Our work has implications for governmental entities concerned with public health, for clinical groups looking for ways to improve behavioral health and psychological well being, and for commercial entities focused on behavior change.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Type
Center Core Grants (P30)
Project #
5P30AG034420-04
Application #
8322669
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZAG1-ZIJ-3 (M2))
Program Officer
Haaga, John G
Project Start
2009-09-30
Project End
2013-06-30
Budget Start
2012-09-01
Budget End
2013-06-30
Support Year
4
Fiscal Year
2012
Total Cost
$333,237
Indirect Cost
$135,576
Name
Harvard University
Department
Social Sciences
Type
Schools of Arts and Sciences
DUNS #
082359691
City
Cambridge
State
MA
Country
United States
Zip Code
02138
Fowler, James H; Settle, Jaime E; Christakis, Nicholas A (2011) Correlated genotypes in friendship networks. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 108:1993-7
Barnett, Michael L; Landon, Bruce E; O'Malley, A James et al. (2011) Mapping physician networks with self-reported and administrative data. Health Serv Res 46:1592-609
Fowler, James H; Christakis, Nicholas A (2010) Cooperative behavior cascades in human social networks. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 107:5334-8