Article written by guest writer Rin Mitchell

What’s the Latest Development?

Researchers at the University of Southern California believe that social networks have the ability to sway health behavior in humans. According to researchers, understanding the way humans interact—whether it is in person or online—could help to prevent disease and promote general health. The social structure of a network group can play a vital role in curbing bad health habits and lowering the number of sexually transmitted diseases. The research “focuses on social networks and influence, has compiled a collection of methods that public health advocates use to stimulate changes in behavior and explains why certain methods may be more effective than others in particular situations.”

What’s the Big Idea?

An analysis by researchers at Kreck School of Medicine of USC examines how social networks have the ability to influence human health behaviors. Researchers have designed different interventions for different groups that exhibit different risks—in order to obtain a better understanding of how social networks can be so influential. The research is still new and researchers will now need to look at and compare different networks and intervention methods to see which “are optimal under what circumstances.” Behavioral research is frequently used in other arenas such as marketing and business, but it has recently begun to be used in the public health sector. Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter "have made it easier to collect data and spread information." 

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