Our Roybal Center for the Study of Social Networks and Well-Being is animated by the recognition that complex social network structures in which people are embedded play an important role in individual and collective health. The overarching goals of our work are to (1) ask significant questions about the role of social networks in producing specific outcomes related to health; and (2) develop methods of answering such questions, in part by developing novel methods of measuring networks and their effects, and in part by experimentally intervening in both face-to-face and online social networks. Our primary thematic areas of focus are novel methods for survey research and data collection and mechanisms of behavior change. And our Roybal Center will focus on the social network underpinnings of behavioral and psychosocial factors related to well-being, such as social interaction, loneliness, disability, diverse health behaviors, adoption of new drugs, and so on. And much of our work investigates how health behaviors and peer effects influence physical health and even life expectancy. Our Center will support research projects that examine both in-person and online social networks for the effects of patterns of network connections on health and wellbeing, 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) establish a Center that contributes to the development of new methods and conceptual frameworks for understanding social network effects on health, health care, health behavior, and well-being; (2) fund pilot projects that examine how network structure in online and face-to-face social networks affects health; and (3) fund pilot projects that examine how the flow of behaviors, norms, information, germs, etc., within network structures takes place both in real life social networks (e.g., health facilties and workplaces) and also in online networks; (4) translate the findings of pilot projects into concrete recommendations for helping people improve their health; and (5) translate the findings of pilot projects into policy recommendations for government, health care providers, insurers, and other stakeholders.

Public Health Relevance

Our work examines how people's embeddedness in social networks affects their health. Pilot projects will be chosen for their potential translational impat 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.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Center Core Grants (P30)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZAG1-ZIJ-9 (A1))
Program Officer
Patmios, Georgeanne E
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Yale University
Social Sciences
Schools of Arts and Sciences
New Haven
United States
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Arechar, Antonio A; Kouchaki, Maryam; Rand, David G (2018) Examining Spillovers between Long and Short Repeated Prisoner's Dilemma Games Played in the Laboratory. Games (Basel) 9:
Perkins, Jessica M; Nyakato, Viola N; Kakuhikire, Bernard et al. (2018) Food insecurity, social networks and symptoms of depression among men and women in rural Uganda: a cross-sectional, population-based study. Public Health Nutr 21:838-848
Harling, Guy; Onnela, Jukka-Pekka (2018) Impact of degree truncation on the spread of a contagious process on networks. Netw Sci (Camb Univ Press) 6:34-53
Perkins, Jessica M; Nyakato, Viola N; Kakuhikire, Bernard et al. (2018) Actual Versus Perceived HIV Testing Norms, and Personal HIV Testing Uptake: A Cross-Sectional, Population-Based Study in Rural Uganda. AIDS Behav 22:616-628
Rand, David G (2017) Social dilemma cooperation (unlike Dictator Game giving) is intuitive for men as well as women. J Exp Soc Psychol 73:164-168
Arechar, Antonio A; Kraft-Todd, Gordon; Rand, David G (2017) Turking Overtime: How Participant Characteristics and Behavior Vary Over Time and Day on Amazon Mechanical Turk. J Econ Sci Assoc 3:1-11
Fu, Feng; Chen, Xingru (2017) Leveraging Statistical Physics to Improve Understanding of Cooperation in Multiplex Networks. New J Phys 19:
Shirado, Hirokazu; Christakis, Nicholas A (2017) Locally noisy autonomous agents improve global human coordination in network experiments. Nature 545:370-374
Stagnaro, Michael N; Arechar, Antonio A; Rand, David G (2017) From good institutions to generous citizens: Top-down incentives to cooperate promote subsequent prosociality but not norm enforcement. Cognition 167:212-254
Rand, David G; Tomlin, Damon; Bear, Adam et al. (2017) Cyclical population dynamics of automatic versus controlled processing: An evolutionary pendulum. Psychol Rev 124:626-642

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