The Power of Brokerage: Case Study of Normative Behavior, Latinas and Cervical Cancer

Nathan Walter*, Sheila T. Murphy, Lauren B. Frank, Sandra J. Ball-Rokeach

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Informed by the theory of normative social behavior (TNSB) and ego-network analysis, the present study outlines the mechanisms that contribute to the creation and maintenance of social norms and their subsequent behavioral outcomes. By analyzing different patterns of normative influence associated with cervical cancer detection among Latinas (N = 982), the study concludes that network brokerage provides individuals with nonredundant information, helps resist normative pressure, and contributes to efficacy beliefs, promoting more informed decision making. Conversely, network closure perpetuates conformity, increases the influence of social norms, and induces less confidence in individual’s ability to comply with cervical cancer screening, subjecting Latinas to unnecessary health risks. Overall, the results suggest that the study of normative influence should be combined with social network analysis, trying to shed a light on the distinct social structures and communication practices that can either reinforce or challenge norms. These findings extend the discussion of social norms in health-related decision making to a more nuanced approach that recognizes the antecedents and outcomes of normative influence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)639-662
Number of pages24
JournalCommunication Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 1 2019


  • brokerage and closure
  • cervical cancer
  • efficacy beliefs
  • social capital
  • social norms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Communication
  • Linguistics and Language


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