Peer, school, and country variations in adolescents’ health behaviour: a multilevel analysis of binary response variables in six European cities

Lorant, V. and Tranmer, M. (2019) Peer, school, and country variations in adolescents’ health behaviour: a multilevel analysis of binary response variables in six European cities. Social Networks, 59, pp. 31-40. (doi: 10.1016/j.socnet.2019.05.004)

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Adolescents often display similar health behaviour to their peers. Peer effects on health behaviour may be influenced by the school context, and by the country of residence. According to the complex contagion theory, these effects for risky health behaviour may be different from protective health behaviour. This paper combines social network analysis and multilevel analysis to estimate the relative share of variation of risky and protective health behaviours at different levels of the population structure: individuals, peer (friendship) networks, and schools. To achieve these aims, multiple membership models are applied to estimate variations in smoking, drinking, cannabis use, and physical activity at the individual, peer, and school levels, taking into account the differences between countries. The data come from a social network survey carried out in 50 schools in six medium-sized European cities. Networks of peers were found to have similar risky health behaviour when it comes to smoking, drinking, and cannabis use. This was not true, however, for positive health behaviour, i.e. physical activity. For smoking, drinking, and cannabis use, the peer network accounted for almost half of the total behaviour variance. In comparison, the school variance was quite small for all health behaviour. The results suggest that interventions are best carried out at the peer-network level, particularly for behaviour vulnerable to complex contagion, such as smoking and cannabis use.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This study is part of the project “Tackling socio-economic inequalities in smoking: learning from natural experiments by time trend analyses and cross-national comparisons” – SILNE, which is funded by the European Commission, Directorate General for Research and Innovation, under FP7 Health 2011 Programme, under grant agreement number No. 278273. This study is also part of the SILNE-R project, which is supported by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme, under grant agreement 635056.
Keywords:Social network analysis, whole network design, multilevel analysis, health behaviour, adolescent health, international comparison.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Tranmer, Professor Mark
Authors: Lorant, V., and Tranmer, M.
Subjects:H Social Sciences > HA Statistics
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences
Research Group:Glasgow Quantitative Methods Group
Journal Name:Social Networks
ISSN (Online):1879-2111
Published Online:04 June 2019
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2019 Elsevier B.V.
First Published:First published in Social Networks 59: 31-40
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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