This article examines whether the alcohol consumption behavior of individuals is influenced by the alcohol consumption of people in their social network. A more nuanced understanding of the relationship between social networks and alcohol consumption is important because alcohol has complex health ramifications, both negative and positive. While previous research has linked alcohol consumption patterns to interactions with friends and family members, this article uses social network research to examine these relationships.
The authors used information from 12,067 individuals who participated in the Framingham Heart Study between 1971 and 2003. They examined self-reported alcohol consumption and social network ties.
This research suggests that social networks have a powerful influence on the alcohol consumption patterns of individuals. Public health interventions that seek to address aspects of alcohol consumption should consider incorporating group dynamics into their interventions.