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Health Links: Who Acts as a Source of Health Information in a Social Network?
UMass Center for Clinical and Translational Science Research Retreat
  • Sarah L. Cutrona, University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • Sarah M. Greene, Group Health Center for Health Studies
  • Andrew E. Williams, Kaiser Permanente
  • Douglas W. Roblin, Kaiser Permanente
  • Joann L. Wagner, University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • Bridget Gaglio, Kaiser Permanente
  • Paul K. J. Han, Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation
  • Kathleen M. Mazor, University of Massachusetts Medical School
Start Date
22-5-2012 4:30 PM
End Date
22-5-2012 6:00 PM
Background: Members of a social network can influence the preventive health choices and cancer screening behaviors of other network members. Study Design: We conducted in-person interviews with 438 insured adults ages 40-70 in Massachusetts, Hawaii, and Georgia. We gathered information on social network communication regarding routine health topics and cancer screening. Participants reported whether family members and friends ask them for information or advice on health topics. Characteristics of each respondent’s social network were explored, including number of people with whom the participant has discussed colorectal cancer (CRC) screening. Participants were asked whether communication with social network members had ever led them to seek cancer screening. Principal Findings:80% of respondents in our group described themselves as a source of health information or advice for others in their social network (89% of women vs. 68% of men, p Conclusions: People who identified themselves as a source of health information within their social network were more likely to have discussed CRC screening with others and communicated with more people. Further study is necessary to understand the roles played by these individuals. As “health information ambassadors,” they may be effective targets for interventions that promote preventive screening.
Creative Commons License
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0
Citation Information
Sarah L. Cutrona, Sarah M. Greene, Andrew E. Williams, Douglas W. Roblin, et al.. "Health Links: Who Acts as a Source of Health Information in a Social Network?" (2012)
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