Association between Social Network Characteristics and Lifestyle Behaviours in Adults at Risk of Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease

Sandra D. Bot, Joreintje D. Mackenbach, Giel Nijpels, Jeroen Lakerveld, Yue Wang
2016 PLoS ONE  
Objectives In this exploratory study we examined the associations between several social network characteristics and lifestyle behaviours in adults at increased risk of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. In addition, we explored whether similarities in lifestyle between individuals and their network members, or the level of social support perceived by these individuals, could explain these associations. Methods From the control group of the Hoorn Prevention Study, participants with high and
more » ... ow educational attainment were approached for a structured interview between April and August 2010. Inclusion was stopped when fifty adults agreed to participate. Participants and a selection of their network members (e.g. spouses, best friends, neighbours, colleagues) completed a questionnaire on healthy lifestyle that included questions on fruit and vegetable intake, daily physical activity and leisure-time sedentary behaviour. We first examined associations between network characteristics and lifestyle using regression analyses. Second, we assessed associations between network characteristics and social support, social support and lifestyle, and compared the participants' lifestyles to those of their network members using concordance correlation coefficients. Results Fifty adults (50/83 x 100 = 62% response) and 170 of their network members (170/192 x 100 = 89% response) participated in the study. Individuals with more close-knit relationships, more friends who live nearby, and a larger and denser network showed higher levels of vegetable consumption and physical activity, and lower levels of sedentary behaviour. Perceived social norms or perceived support for behavioural change were not related to PLOS ONE | Conclusions Study results suggest that adults with a larger and denser social network have a healthier lifestyle. Underlying mechanisms for these associations should be further explored, as the current results suggest a minimal role for social support and modelling by network members. Social Network Characteristics and Lifestyle Behaviours PLOS ONE |
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0165041 pmid:27798709 pmcid:PMC5087858 fatcat:xpshkahcqjev7l2j7etek3qhie