Smoking or Nonsmoking?

Previous research has been conducted investigating the correlation between Fraternity members and the influence of peers which, has lead to the development of negative habits such as alcohol consumption and cigarette smoking. The behavioral habits of Greek life participants are widely seen as normal despite the harmful effects and prevalence of their excessive ingestion of chemicals. One of the studies carried out focused on a group of 34 fraternity members at a University in the Southwestern area of the U.S. These members, through a longitudinal study, were asked various questions relating to their associations within the fraternity and their smoking habits. The inquiries about their habits mainly focused on the number of packs they smoked, the likelihood of quitting, and whether they were more likely to smoke among other smokers than if they were alone. The results of the study showed that in the first interval of questioning 52.9% of the members said that they were more likely to smoke when hanging with friends who also smoked, whereas the following interval showed an increase to 58.8%. The network graph below, labeled figure 1,was constructed by the investigators and shows the relationships between smoking and nonsmoking fraternity members. The Red squares represent the smokers of the group and the blue circles represent the nonsmokers. The network shows a cluster effect within the fraternity, generally smokers befriend smokers and nonsmokers befriend nonsmokers. However, one node in particular, node 20, represents a nonsmoker who, fascinatingly enough is very much connected to the main group of smokers within the fraternity. Despite that minor inconsistency this network supports the common conception that since smoking is normally a social activity people are more likely to associate themselves with people who share the same tendencies. Unfortunately, the more popular a member is within the fraternity the more likely they will be able to influence the other members with their behavior. By their actions these members promote the idea of smoking and set standards that lead to an increase in the number of smoking members. Nevertheless, the network analysis of these groups can provide us with a better idea of how social networks such as fraternities work and how we could counteract these negative habits.

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Figure 1. 



Phua, Joe. “The Influence of Peer Norms and Popularity on Smoking and Drinking Behavior Among College Fraternity Members: A Social Network Analysis.” Social Influence 6, no. 3 (2011): 153. Accessed January 19, 2016. doi:10.1080/15534510.2011.584445.