Study Description

The Social Network Study was designed to explore the associations between adolescent peer relationships and group affiliations on the initiation and/or continued use of alcohol and tobacco by adolescents. An important new development in youth culture is the use of social media tools, which may have a profound effect on the nature of these social relationships and therefore also influence behavior. We hope to better understand the role of mobile phone use and Internet social networking sites (SNS) like MySpace or Facebook on the use of tobacco, alcohol and other illegal substances. The results of this study will provide useful information that can either enhance current prevention efforts or inform future program development to incorporate what we have learned about the influences of friends, social norms, and social media use into future programs.

This report summarizes the pilot test results of the survey conducted in the Spring of 2010 at four high schools in the El Monte Union School District of Los Angeles County, Southern California. A total of 1,117 students in the 10th grade participated in this survey. Table 1 presents characteristics of student respondents in our study and compares these to data collected on all students in the United States by the Youth Risk Behavior Survey.

Principal Investigators

Thomas Valente, PhD

Professor of Population and Public Health Sciences

Director, Center for Applied Network Analysis

Faculty profile

Daniel Soto, EdD, MPH

Assistant Professor of Clinical Population and Public Health Sciences

Faculty profile


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