The Pilot Core (Core B) will develop and conduct innovative research projects examining the ways in which online and offline social networks affect and are affected by health, health behavior, and well-being. These new pilot projects are all related to our primary overall themes of "novel methods for survey research and data collection" and of "mechanisms of behavior change." Possible measures of well-being reflect several constructs, improvement in any one of which might be said to enhance human well-being: health, health behavior, subjective affective states or traits (e.g., happiness, life satisfaction), quality of life, and social connectedness and engagement. To accomplish this, we propose the following specific aims: (1) to support pilot projects that translate discoveries about network structure and function into a better understanding of the ways in which they might be exploited to enhance well-being;(2) to support pilot projects that demonstrate how social network insights might affect how interventions are delivered so as to improve the well-being of older people (by providing a more comprehensive understanding of social influences on health behaviors);and (3) to support pilot projects that use novel methods for survey research or data collection, including new software tools and the application of data science (e.g., by exploiting so-called "big data"). This type of translational research offers the promise of understanding and exploiting social network structure and function to deliver better and more effective health interventions and of shedding new light on many important problems, including obesity and epidemics of bad health behaviors;nosocomial infections in nursing homes;diffusion of innovations among networks of physicians;health disparities;cost-effectiveness assessments of clinical and policy interventions;and the efficacy of community-based interventions. (For overall goals of the Roybal Center, see the Project Summary in the Overall section of this application).
In keeping with the aim of the Roybal program to improve the lives of older people and the capacity of institutions to adapt to societal aging, we see a great deal of potential in many areas of emphasis touched by the proposed research to improve the health and well-being of older people. Pilot projects will be chosen for their potential translational impact and policy relevance to health issues and quality of life in aging populations.
|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|