Skip to main content
SearchLoginLogin or Signup

Sociometric network analysis in illicit drugs research: A scoping review

Sociometric or whole network analysis, a method used to analyze relational patterns among social actors, emphasizes the role of social structure in shaping behaviour. Such method has been applied to many aspects of illicit drug research, including in the areas of public ...

Published onFeb 27, 2023
Sociometric network analysis in illicit drugs research: A scoping review
key-enterThis Pub is a Version of
Sociometric network analysis in illicit drugs research: A scoping review
Sociometric network analysis in illicit drugs research: A scoping review
Description

Background Sociometric or whole network analysis, a method used to analyze relational patterns among social actors, emphasizes the role of social structure in shaping behaviour. Such method has been applied to many aspects of illicit drug research, including in the areas of public health, epidemiology, and criminology. Previous reviews about social networks and drugs have lacked a focus on the use of sociometric network analysis for illicit drugs research across disciplines. The current scoping review aimed to provide an overview of the sociometric network analysis methods used in illicit drugs research and to assess how such methods could be used for future research. Methods A systematic search of six databases (Web of Science, ProQuest Sociology Collection, Political Science Complete, PubMed, Criminal Justice Abstracts, and PsycINFO) returned 72 relevant studies that met the inclusion criteria. To be included, studies had to mention illicit drugs and use whole social network analysis as one of their methods. Studies were summarized quantitatively and qualitatively using a data-charting form and a description of the studies’ main topics. Results Sociometric network analysis in illicit drugs research has grown in popularity in the last decade, using mostly descriptive network metrics, such as degree centrality (72.2%) and density (44.4%). Studies were found to belong to three study domains. The first, drug crimes investigated network resilience and collaboration patterns in drug trafficking networks. The second domain, public health, focused on the social networks and social support of people who use drugs. Finally, the third domain focused on the collaboration networks of policy, law enforcement, and service providers. Conclusion Future illicit drugs research using whole network SNA should include more diverse data sources and samples, incorporate mixed and qualitative methods, and apply social network analysis to study drug policy.

 

Comments
0
comment
No comments here
Why not start the discussion?