The compositional and structural characteristics of gamblers' social networks
Meisel, Matthew Kirwin
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Individuals who are friends with others who participate in substance use are at a higher risk of engaging in similar behaviors. Two studies investigated the compositional and structural aspects of gamblers’ social networks. Study 1 recruited gamblers from the community, whereas Study 2 recruited college student gamblers. The current studies utilized an egocentric social network design in which the participant enumerated the closest people in his life, and the relationship among the people named. Pathological gamblers (PGs) had more gamblers and gambling “buddies” in their networks compared to nonpathological gamblers (NPGs). Furthermore, both studies found homophily in gamblers’ networks, although there were differences in network density, such that college PGs’ networks were significantly denser than NPG’s networks, but there were no differences in the community sample. This suggests that college PGs form dense networks that reinforce their own gambling behavior but that over time, these networks dissolve.