Social network characteristics and risky sexual and drug related behaviors among homeless young adults

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

84 Scopus citations


Although research finds high rates of risky sexual and drug related behavior among homeless young people, little research had examined how the characteristics of their social networks encourage or constrain risky behaviors. Based on a sample of 145 homeless young adults in the Midwestern United States, results revealed that having used alcohol with at least one of their network members and the presence of more conflict was associated with engaging in a greater number of sexual risk taking behaviors. Correlates of engaging in a greater number of substance use related behaviors included having older peers within the network, having used illicit drugs with at least one network member, and the presence of more conflict. The presence of a family member in one's network, however, was associated with fewer sexual and drug related risk behaviors. Overall, the social network characteristics of youth explained significant, additional variance beyond that of youth's own characteristics and their early family histories.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)673-685
Number of pages13
JournalSocial Science Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2008



  • Homeless young adults
  • Risky drug related behaviors
  • Risky sexual behaviors
  • Social networks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science

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