Personal Network Analysis and Health among Latinas

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Interpersonal contacts play important roles in women’s health decisions. By using personal network analysis with a focus on specific role relationships, we can better examine interpersonal influences on health decision-making. Data were collected through face-to-face surveys of Hispanic women (N = 1632). Using an ego network name generator and name interpreters, participants detailed their personal networks for discussion about women’s health issues. Participants reported a mean of 1.99 (SD = 1.33) social network contacts with whom they discuss women’s health issues, of whom the most commonly reported contacts were female friends, sisters, mothers, and husbands, boyfriends, or partners. Many of the contacts nominated were family members, yielding a high personal network density (M = 0.84, SD = 0.32). Controlling for participant demographics and other forms of social influence, role relations’ encouragement to get a Pap test and personal network exposure to Pap test discussions were associated with Pap test status. Personal network analysis should leverage information on specific role relations. Given the importance of personal network contacts for women’s health status, health educators and medical professionals must account for women’s personal social networks in developing health interventions.

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