To make and keep friends: The role of health status in adolescent network tie formation and persistence

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Health status may shape network structure through network dynamics (tie formation and persistence) and direction (sent and received ties), net of typical network processes. We apply Separable Temporal Exponential Random Graph Models (STERGMs) to National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health survey data (n = 1779) to differentiate how health status shapes network sent and received tie formation and persistence. Results indicate that networks are shaped by withdrawal of adolescents experiencing poor health, highlighting the importance of separating distinct and directed processes of friendship formation and persistence when considering how health relates to adolescent social life.






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Copeland, M, C Kamis and JS West (2023). To make and keep friends: The role of health status in adolescent network tie formation and persistence. Social Networks, 74. pp. 216–223. 10.1016/j.socnet.2023.04.005 Retrieved from

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Jessica Sayles West

Medical Instructor in the Department of Head and Neck Surgery & Communication Sciences

Jessica is a medical sociologist who specializes in research on hearing loss, aging, and health disparities over the life course. Jessica’s work has described the “spillover” effects of hearing loss on health outcomes for both individuals and those close to them, as well as sociodemographic disparities in the onset of and life expectancy with hearing loss. Her research, which leverages both population-level data and electronic health record data, has appeared in the Journals of Gerontology, Social Science & Medicine, Ear and Hearing, and other leading journals in medical sociology, hearing, and aging research.

Jessica received a B.A. from the University of Michigan in Social Anthropology (dual Sociology/Anthropology concentration) followed by an M.P.H. in Sociomedical Sciences with a certificate in Public Health Research Methods from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. She subsequently received an M.A. and Ph.D. in Sociology with a focus in Medical Sociology and Demography at Duke University. She then completed an NIA T32 Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Duke University Aging Center under the mentorship of Matthew E. Dupre, Ph.D. (Population Health Sciences) and Sherri L. Smith, Au.D., Ph.D. (Head and Neck Surgery & Communication Sciences).

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