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Norms, social networks, and HIV-related risk behaviors among urban disadvantaged drug users


  • Latkin, Carl A.
  • Forman, Valerie
  • Knowlton, Amy
  • Sherman, Susan


Altering norms may be an important approach to introducing and sustaining health protective behavior change. This study sought to examine the relationship between condom use, condom norms, and social network characteristics among a sample of economically impoverished individuals at risk for acquiring and transmitting HIV. Participants were 1051 individuals from a drug-using community in the USA. Eighty percent were current drug users; 17% were HIV seropositive. Reported condom use was strongly associated with peer norms about condom use (friends talking about condoms, encouraging condom use, and using condoms). Women were less likely than men to report that their friends used condoms. Injection drug use was negatively associated with peer norms about condom use, while church attendance and network characteristics were positively associated with condom-promoting norms. The size of the health advice and the financial support networks was most positively related to condom norms. Network methodology may aid in the identification of specific ties that promote condom use norms in a population. The findings of this study may have implications for norm change interventions among disadvantaged communities at high risk for HIV/AIDS.

Suggested Citation

  • Latkin, Carl A. & Forman, Valerie & Knowlton, Amy & Sherman, Susan, 2003. "Norms, social networks, and HIV-related risk behaviors among urban disadvantaged drug users," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 56(3), pages 465-476, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:56:y:2003:i:3:p:465-476

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    Cited by:

    1. Bogart, Laura M. & Wagner, Glenn J. & Green, Harold D. & Mutchler, Matt G. & Klein, David J. & McDavitt, Bryce & Lawrence, Sean J. & Hilliard, Charles L., 2016. "Medical mistrust among social network members may contribute to antiretroviral treatment nonadherence in African Americans living with HIV," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 164(C), pages 133-140.
    2. João Monteiro & Sandro Galea & Timothy Flanigan & Maria Monteiro & Samuel Friedman & Brandon Marshall, 2015. "Evaluating HIV prevention strategies for populations in key affected groups: the example of Cabo Verde," International Journal of Public Health, Springer;Swiss School of Public Health (SSPH+), vol. 60(4), pages 457-466, May.
    3. Barrington, Clare & Latkin, Carl & Sweat, Michael D. & Moreno, Luis & Ellen, Jonathan & Kerrigan, Deanna, 2009. "Talking the talk, walking the walk: Social network norms, communication patterns, and condom use among the male partners of female sex workers in La Romana, Dominican Republic," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 68(11), pages 2037-2044, June.
    4. Bakshi, Rejaul & Mallick, Debdulal & Ulubaşoğlu, Mehmet, 2017. "Social capital as a coping mechanism for seasonal deprivation: The case of the Monga in Bangladesh," MPRA Paper 86587, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 2018.
    5. Galea, Sandro & Ahern, Jennifer & Karpati, Adam, 2005. "A model of underlying socioeconomic vulnerability in human populations: evidence from variability in population health and implications for public health," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 60(11), pages 2417-2430, June.
    6. Yang, Cui & Latkin, Carl & Luan, Rongsheng & Nelson, Kenrad, 2010. "Peer norms and consistent condom use with female sex workers among male clients in Sichuan province, China," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 71(4), pages 832-839, August.
    7. Rhodes, Tim & Singer, Merrill & Bourgois, Philippe & Friedman, Samuel R. & Strathdee, Steffanie A., 2005. "The social structural production of HIV risk among injecting drug users," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 61(5), pages 1026-1044, September.
    8. Mertens, Frédéric & Saint-Charles, Johanne & Mergler, Donna, 2012. "Social communication network analysis of the role of participatory research in the adoption of new fish consumption behaviors," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 75(4), pages 643-650.


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