Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Dynamic associations of network isolation and smoking behavior


Prevailing social network frameworks examine the association between peer ties and behaviors, such as smoking, but the role of social isolates is poorly understood. Some theories predict isolated adolescents are protected from peer influence that increases smoking, while others suggest isolates are more likely to initiate smoking because they lack the social control provided by peer friendships. Building on a growing literature that seeks to explain these contradictions by moving beyond a homogeneous understanding of isolation, we identify the relationship between smoking and three distinct dimensions of isolation: avoided (adolescents who do not receive ties), withdrawn (adolescents who do not send ties), and externally oriented (adolescents who claim close out-of-grade friends). We examine the co-evolutionary effects of these dimensions and cigarette smoking using an autoregressive latent trajectory model with PROSPER Peers, a unique, longitudinal network dataset. These data include students (47% male and 86% white) from rural Iowa and Pennsylvania, ranging successively from grades 6–12 in eight waves of data. We find avoided isolation is associated with decreased subsequent smoking in high school. Smoking increases subsequent avoided and withdrawn isolation, but decreases external orientation.

Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

P. D. Allison (2009). Fixed effects regression models. Los Angeles: Sage Publications.

K. A. Bollen , & P. J. Curran (2004). Autoregressive latent trajectory (ALT) models a synthesis of two traditions. Sociological Methods & Research, 32 (3), 336383.

H. J. Choi , & R. A. Smith (2013). Members, isolates, and liaisons: Meta-analysis of adolescents' network positions and their smoking behavior. Substance Use & Misuse, 48 (8), 612622. Retrieved from

S. T. Ennett , & K. E. Bauman (1993). Peer group structure and adolescent cigarette smoking: A social network analysis. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 34 (3), 226236.

K. Fujimoto , & T. W. Valente (2012). Social network influences on adolescent substance use: Disentangling structural equivalence from cohesion. Social Science and Medicine, 74 (12), 19521960. Retrieved from

R. V. Gould (2002). The origins of status hierarchies: A formal theory and empirical test. American Journal of Sociology, 107 (5), 11431178. Retrieved from

S. A. Haas , & D. R. Schaefer (2014). With a little help from my friends? Asymmetrical social influence on adolescent smoking initiation and cessation. Journal of Health and Social Behaviorocial Behavior, 55 (2), 126143. Retrieved from

D. L. Haynie , & D. W. Osgood (2005). Reconsidering peers and delinquency: How do peers matter? Social Forces, 84 (2), 11091130.

B. R. Hoffman , S. Sussman , J. B. Unger , & T. W. Valente (2006). Peer influences on adolescent cigarette smoking: A theoretical review of the literature. Substance Use & Misuse, 41 (1), 103–55. Retrieved from

D. A. Kreager (2004). Strangers in the halls: Isolation and delinquency in school networks. Social Forces, 83 (1), 351390.

K. A. Maxwell (2002). Friends: The role of peer influence across adolescent risk behaviors. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 31 (4), 267277.

D. A. McFarland , J. Moody , D. Diehl , J. A. Smith , & R. J. Thomas (2014). Network ecology and adolescent social structure. American Sociological Review, 79 (6), 10881121. Retrieved from

L. E. Molloy , S. D. Gest , M. E. Feinberg , & D. W. Osgood (2014). Emergence of mixed-sex friendship groups during adolescence: Developmental associations with substance use and delinquency. Developmental Psychology, 50 (11), 24492461. Retrieved from

F. Poulin , & S. Pedersen (2007). Developmental changes in gender composition of friendship networks in adolescent girls and boys. Developmental Psychology, 43 (6), 14841496. Retrieved from

K. H. Rubin , & R. S. Mills (1988). The many faces of social isolation in childhood. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 56 (6), 916924. Retrieved from

D. R. Schaefer , O. Kornienko , & A. M. Fox (2011). Misery does not love company: Network selection mechanisms and depression homophily. American Sociological Review, 76 (5), 764785. Retrieved from

A. Skrondal & S. Rabe-Hesketh (2014). Handling initial conditions and endogenous covariates in dynamic/transition models for binary data with unobserved heterogeneity. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society: Series C (Applied Statistics), 63 (2), 211237.

R. Spoth , C. Redmond , S. Clair , C. Shin , M. Greenberg , & M. Feinberg (2011). Preventing substance misuse through community-university partnerships: Randomized controlled trial outcomes 4 1/2 years past caseline. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 40 (4), 440447. Retrieved from

T. W. Valente , J. B. Unger , & C. A. Johnson (2005). Do popular students smoke? The association between popularity and smoking among middle school students. The Journal of Adolescent Health, 37 (4), 323329. Retrieved from

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Network Science
  • ISSN: 2050-1242
  • EISSN: 2050-1250
  • URL: /core/journals/network-science
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Type Description Title
Supplementary Materials

Copeland supplementary material
Supplementary Table

 Word (52 KB)
52 KB


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 46 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 201 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 20th April 2017 - 20th September 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.