Mobilizing homeless youth for HIV prevention: a social network analysis of the acceptability of a face-to-face and online social networking intervention

The objective of the study is to use social network analysis to examine the acceptability of a youth-led, hybrid face-to-face and online social networking HIV prevention program for homeless youth.Seven peer leaders (PLs) engaged face-to-face homeless youth (F2F) in the creation of digital media projects (e.g. You Tube videos). PL and F2F recruited online youth (OY) to participate in MySpace and Facebook communities where digital media was disseminated and discussed. The resulting social networks were assessed with respect to size, growth, density, relative centrality of positions and homophily of ties. Seven PL, 53 F2F and 103 OY created two large networks. After the first 50 F2F youth participated, online networks entered a rapid growth phase. OY were among the most central youth in these networks. Younger aged persons and females were disproportionately connected to like youth. The program appears highly acceptable to homeless youth. Social network analysis revealed which PL were the most critical to the program and which types of participants (younger youth and females) may require additional outreach efforts in the future.

Publication Date: 
January 13, 2012
Journal Name: 
Health Education Research