The drinking habits of the people in your extended social group play a major role in determining how many adult beverages you consume, says researchers writing in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
The authors suggest this social phenomenon could have implications for clinical and health interventions. Social networks could be used to exploit positive health behaviors and further support group interventions.
In the study, self-reported alcohol intake over time followed changes in the alcohol intake of the respondents' social contacts. The researchers found that a person was 50 percent more likely to drink heavily if a person they are directly connected with also drinks heavily and 36 percent more likely to drink heavily if a friend of a friend drinks heavily. The impact extended up to three degrees of separation.
Researchers used data from the Framingham Heart Study, which followed 12,067 people for more than 30 years and helped to define the patterns in social networks of other health issues such as obesity, smoking, and sexually transmitted diseases.
"We've found that the influence of your friends and people you have connections with can affect your health just as much as your family history or your genetic background," said Nicholas Christakis, MD, PhD, Professor of Medicine at Harvard University and lead author of the study. "With regard to alcohol consumption, your social network may have both positive and negative health consequences, depending on the circumstances."
Citation: Rosenquist et al., 'The Spread of Alcohol Consumption Behavior in a Large Social Network', Ann Intern Med, April 2010, 152:426-433
- PHYSICAL SCIENCES
- EARTH SCIENCES
- LIFE SCIENCES
- SOCIAL SCIENCES
Subscribe to the newsletter
Stay in touch with the scientific world!
Know Science And Want To Write?
- New Ice Age Is Coming, By 2030, Says Analysis
- Will Aspartame Critics Now Be Less Bitter?
- New Results From The LHC At 13 TeV!
- Grasping How The Brain Plans Gripping Motion
- Kepler 452b - Things That Could Go Wrong With Habitability & If It Is - Could We Detect Intelligent Life There?
- Atheism Peaks, While Spiritual Groups Move Toward Convergence
- How Did Mexico Eliminate Breast Cancer Deaths?
- "There are two zero-entries data points not shown (semi-log graph).Nobody gets excited by two events..."
- "That was a pun! Excesses usually appear toward the end of a spectrum... and the energy being 1..."
- "I'm not so sure about the point on the generic drug manufacturers abandoning a generic once it..."
- "Reproduction studies need some way to get published, and then somehow, some mechanism needs to..."
- "Hi T, Thanks for the note. Great LHC is back in business and your summary helps us get up to date!..."