Social Networking Technology, Social Network Composition, and Reductions in Substance Use Among Homeless Adolescents (2011)
Eric Rice, Norweenta G. Milburn and William Monro
Search Terms: homeless youth, alcoholism, drugs, cellphone, los angeles, prevention, technology
Summary: Peer-based prevention programs for homeless youth are complicated by the potential for reinforcing high-risk behaviors among participants. The goal of this study is to understand how homeless youth could be linked to positive peers in prevention programming by understanding where in social and physical space positive peers for homeless youth are located, how these ties are associated with substance use, and the role of social networking technologies (e.g., internet and cell phones) in this process. Personal social network data were collected from 136 homeless adolescents in Los Angeles, CA. For homeless youth, who are physically disconnected from positive peers, social networking technologies can be used to facilitate the sorts of positive social ties that effective peer-based prevention programs require.