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A systematic review protocol: Social network analysis of tobacco use

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Background: Tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of death in the world. Evidence indicates that behaviours such as tobacco use can influence social networks, and that social network structures can influence behaviours. Social network analysis provides a set of analytic tools to undertake methodical analysis of social networks. We will undertake a systematic review to provide a comprehensive synthesis of the literature regarding social network analysis and tobacco use. The review will answer the following research questions: among participants who use tobacco, does social network structure/position influence tobacco use? Does tobacco use influence peer selection? Does peer selection influence tobacco use?Methods: We will follow the Preferred Reporting Items for Systemic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines and search the following databases for relevant articles: CINAHL (Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature); Informit Health Collection; PsycINFO; PubMed/MEDLINE; Scopus/Embase; Web of Science; and the Wiley Online Library. Keywords include tobacco; smoking; smokeless; cigarettes; cigar and 'social network' and reference lists of included articles will be hand searched. Studies will be included that provide descriptions of social network analysis of tobacco use. Qualitative, quantitative and mixed method data that meets the inclusion criteria for the review, including methodological rigour, credibility and quality standards, will be synthesized using narrative synthesis. Results will be presented using outcome statistics that address each of the research questions. Discussion: This systematic review will provide a timely evidence base on the role of social network analysis of tobacco use, forming a basis for future research, policy and practice in this area. This systematic review will synthesise the evidence, supporting the hypothesis that social network structures can influence tobacco use. This will also include exploring the relationship between social network structure, social network position, peer selection, peer influence and tobacco use across all age groups, and across different demographics. The research will increase our understanding of social networks and their impact on tobacco use, informing policy and practice while highlighting gaps in the literature and areas for further research.




Maddox, R., Davey, R., Lovett, R., Van Der Sterren, A., Corbett, J., & Cochrane, T. (2014). A systematic review protocol: Social network analysis of tobacco use. Systematic Reviews, 3(1).

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