Exploring the Role of Social Network Structure in Disease Risk among U.S. Long-haul Truck Drivers in Urban Areas. Academic Article uri icon


  • Objective: Using mixed methods, we explored properties of long-haul truckers' social networks potentially influencing STI/BBI acquisition and transmission. Methods: We recruited inner-city drug and sex network members (N = 88) for interviews. Blood and urine samples and vaginal swabs were collected to test for STIs/BBIs. Data were collected on participants' role in the network (trucker, sex worker, or intermediary), sexual and substance-use behaviors, and dyadic relationships with drug and/or sex contacts. We analyzed network data using UCINET. Results: Data revealed 2 major network clusters (58 male truckers, 6 male intermediaries, and 24 female sex workers; 27.3% STI/BBI positive). Overall, 18.8% of network members had more than one type of risky relationship with the same person (multiplexity), 11.4% of dyads were between 2 STI/ BBI positive people (assortative mixing), 36.4% were between one STI/BBI positive person and one negative person (disassortative mixing), 44.3% of people were connected to more than one person who was STI/BBI positive (concurrency), and 62.5% of nodes were just one path removed from an STI/BBI positive individual (bridging). Conclusion: Despite only 27.3% of the network being STI/BBI positive, our results revealed network characteristics (and potential intervention points) that amplify risk of disease spread within trucker-centered networks.

published proceedings

  • Am J Health Behav

author list (cited authors)

  • Patterson, M. S., Nelon, J. L., Lemke, M. K., Sönmez, S., Hege, A., & Apostolopoulos, Y.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Patterson, Megan S||Nelon, Jordan L||Lemke, Michael K||Sönmez, Sevil||Hege, Adam||Apostolopoulos, Yorghos

publication date

  • January 2021