J. Niels Rosenquist, MD, PhD; Joanne Murabito, MD; James H. Fowler, PhD; Nicholas A. Christakis, MD, PhD
Acknowledgment: The authors thank Laurie Meneades, Rebecca Joyce, Molly Collins, Marian Bellwood, and Karen Mutalik for the expert assistance required to build the data set.
Grant Support: By the National Institutes of Health (grant R01AG2444801) and a Pioneer Award from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The Framingham Heart Study is supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (grant N01HC25195).
Potential Conflicts of Interest: Disclosures can be viewed at www.acponline.org/authors/icmje/ConflictOfInterestForms.do?msNum=M09-1111.
Reproducible Research Statement:Study protocol and data set: Not available. Statistical code: Available from Dr. Fowler (e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org).
Requests for Single Reprints: Nicholas A. Christakis, MD, PhD, Harvard Medical School, 180-A Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115; e-mail, email@example.com.
Current Author Addresses: Drs. Rosenquist and Christakis: Harvard Medical School, 180-A Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115.
Dr. Murabito: Boston University School of Medicine, 73 Mount Wayte Avenue, Framingham, MA 01701.
Dr. Fowler: University of California, San Diego, Social Science Building 383, 9500 Gilman Drive, Number 0521, La Jolla, CA 92093-0521.
Author Contributions: Conception and design: J.H. Fowler, N.A. Christakis.
Analysis and interpretation of the data: J.N. Rosenquist, J. Murabito, J.H. Fowler, N.A. Christakis.
Drafting of the article: J.N. Rosenquist, J.H. Fowler, N.A. Christakis.
Critical revision of the article for important intellectual content: J.N. Rosenquist, J. Murabito, J.H. Fowler, N.A. Christakis.
Final approval of the article: J.N. Rosenquist, J.H. Fowler, N.A. Christakis.
Provision of study materials or patients: N.A. Christakis.
Statistical expertise: J.H. Fowler, N.A. Christakis.
Obtaining of funding: J.H. Fowler, N.A. Christakis.
Administrative, technical, or logistic support: J.H. Fowler, N.A. Christakis.
Collection and assembly of data: J. Murabito, J.H. Fowler, N.A. Christakis.
Rosenquist J., Murabito J., Fowler J., Christakis N.; The Spread of Alcohol Consumption Behavior in a Large Social Network. Ann Intern Med. 2010;152:426-433. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-152-7-201004060-00007
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2010;152(7):426-433.
Alcohol consumption has important health-related consequences and numerous biological and social determinants.
To explore quantitatively whether alcohol consumption behavior spreads from person to person in a large social network of friends, coworkers, siblings, spouses, and neighbors, followed for 32 years.
Longitudinal network cohort study.
The Framingham Heart Study.
12Â 067 persons assessed at several time points between 1971 and 2003.
Self-reported alcohol consumption (number of drinks per week on average over the past year and number of days drinking within the past week) and social network ties, measured at each time point.
Clusters of drinkers and abstainers were present in the network at all time points, and the clusters extended to 3 degrees of separation. These clusters were not only due to selective formation of social ties among drinkers but also seem to reflect interpersonal influence. Changes in the alcohol consumption behavior of a person's social network had a statistically significant effect on that person's subsequent alcohol consumption behavior. The behaviors of immediate neighbors and coworkers were not significantly associated with a person's drinking behavior, but the behavior of relatives and friends was.
A nonclinical measure of alcohol consumption was used. Also, it is unclear whether the effects on long-term health are positive or negative, because alcohol has been shown to be both harmful and protective. Finally, not all network ties were observed.
Network phenomena seem to influence alcohol consumption behavior. This has implications for clinical and public health interventions and further supports group-level interventions to reduce problematic drinking.
National Institutes of Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The Framingham Heart Study is supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
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Tobacco, Alcohol, and Other Substance Abuse.
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Print ISSN: 0003-4819 | Online ISSN: 1539-3704
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