Not getting high with a little help from your friends: Social versus drug network correlates of marijuana use among YMSM

Patrick Janulis*, Michelle Birkett, Gregory Phillips, Brian Mustanski

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Substantial evidence has documented the importance of social connections in shaping health and drug use behaviors among adolescents and young adults. The current study extends previous research into the associations between network characteristics and drug use behavior among young men who have sex with men (YMSM) by 1) examining multiple network characteristics, 2) simultaneously assessing multiple network types (i.e., social and drug use), and 3) examining change in network characteristics and drug use behavior over time. Data for the current study comes from RADAR, a longitudinal cohort study of YMSM. Latent growth curve models examined the change in frequency of marijuana use across four observations and individual and network correlates of this change including: demographics, drug network size, drug network density, social network size, and social network density. Baseline frequency of marijuana use was positively associated with drug network size and density, while it was inversely related to social network size and density. In addition, increasing frequency of marijuana use was associated with increases in drug network size and density, while it was associated with decreases in social network size. These findings highlight the complexity of multiple network types (e.g., drug and social) and network structures (e.g., size and density) in understanding drug use behavior among YMSM. Furthermore, as changes in drug and social networks may be indicative of changes in marijuana use, peer relationships may be especially important in understanding an individual's trajectories of marijuana use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)180-185
Number of pages6
JournalAddictive Behaviors
StatePublished - May 2019


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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