Adolescent social networks and mental health

Group of young people, showing torso to knees

The influence of peers fluctuates over the life course but has a strong effect on many health behaviours, particularly mental health.

We investigate how young people’s friendships, peer groups and youth (sub)cultural identities influence health. We have access to a range of studies (e.g. Adolescent Lifestyles in Contemporary Europe (ALICE), THiS, Belfast Youth Development Study, and Peers and Levels of Stress (PaLs) studies, which contain sociometric data and a variety of physical and psychological health measures. We are working with the Neighbourhoods programme and Settings programme to examine these data sets.

We will look at how different aspects of social networks, like friendship groups and social isolation, may influence health behaviour and mental wellbeing. Our projects include Belfast / Glasgow social network analysis collaboration and Social media and self-injury: social Support and contagion within the online self-injury community.

MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit logo 800 wide