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The structure of adolescent romantic and sexual networks
Bearman PS, Moody J, Stovel K.
Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy - Columbia University
Project Description:
"Understanding the structure of sexual networks is critical for modeling disease transmission dynamics, if disease is spread via sexual contact. This project describes the structure of an adolescent sexual network among a population of over 800 adolescents residing in a mid-sized town in the mid-western United States. Precise images and measures of network structure are derived from reports of relationships that occurred over a period of eighteen months between 1993 and 1995. We compare the structural characteristics of the observed network to simulated networks governed by similar constraints on the distribution of ties, and show that the observed structure differs radically from chance expectation. Specifically, we find that real sexual and romantic networks are characterized by long contact chains and few cycles. We identify the micro-mechanism that generates networks with similar structural features to the observed network. Implications for disease transmission dynamics and social policy are explored."
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