A descriptive pilot study of structural and functional social network ties among women in the women's health initiative (WHI) study

J Women Aging. Jan-Feb 2021;33(1):1-29. doi: 10.1080/08952841.2019.1608138. Epub 2019 Jun 9.


Few studies examine the network structure and function of older women's health discussion networks. We sought to assess the feasibility and acceptability of collecting social network data via telephone from 72 women from the Women's Health Initiative study and to describe structural and functional characteristics. Women were socially connected and had dense networks. Women were emotionally close to network members, but their networks were not used to facilitate communication with health-care providers. One-third of network members was not influential on health-related decision-making. Collecting social network data via telephone is feasible and an acceptable, though un-preferred, mode of data collection.

Keywords: Social networks; health communication; older women.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Health Communication / methods
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Social Networking*
  • Social Support*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Telephone
  • Women's Health*