Social network analysis for assessing college-aged adults' health: A systematic review.
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OBJECTIVE: Social network analysis (SNA) is a useful, emerging method for studying health. College students are especially prone to social influence when it comes to health. This review aimed to identify network variables related to college student health and determine how SNA was used in the literature. PARTICIPANTS: A systematic review of relevant literature was conducted in October 2015. METHODS: Studies employing egocentric or whole network analysis to study college student health were included. We used Garrard's Matrix Method to extract data from reviewed articles (n = 15). RESULTS: Drinking, smoking, aggression, homesickness, and stress were predicted by network variables in the reviewed literature. Methodological inconsistencies concerning boundary specification, data collection, nomination limits, and statistical analyses were revealed across studies. CONCLUSIONS: Results show the consistent relationship between network variables and college health outcomes, justifying further use of SNA to research college health. Suggestions and considerations for future use of SNA are provided.