Bidirectional influence: A longitudinal analysis of size of drug network and depression among inner-city residents in Baltimore, Maryland

Jingyan Yang, Carl Latkin, Melissa Davey-Rothwell, Mansi Agarwal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: The prevalence of depression among drug users is high. It has been recognized that drug use behaviors can be influenced and spread through social networks. Objectives: We investigated the directional relationship between social network factors and depressive symptoms among a sample of inner-city residents in Baltimore, MD. Methods: We performed a longitudinal study of four-wave data collected from a network-based HIV/STI prevention intervention for women and network members, consisting of both men and women. Our primary outcome and exposure were depression using CESD scale and social network characteristics, respectively. Linear-mixed model with clustering adjustment was used to account for both repeated measurement and network design. Results: Of the 746 participants, those who had high levels of depression tended to be female, less educated, homeless, smokers, and did not have a main partner. In the univariate longitudinal model, larger size of drug network was significantly associated with depression (OR = 1.38, p <.001). This relationship held after controlling for age, gender, homeless in the past 6 months, college education, having a main partner, cigarette smoking, perceived health, and social support network (aOR = 1.19, p =.001). In the univariate mixed model using depression to predict size of drug network, the data suggested that depression was associated with larger size of drug network (coef. = 1.23, p <.001) and the same relation held in multivariate model (adjusted coef. = 1.08, p =.001). Conclusions: The results suggest that larger size of drug network is a risk factor for depression, and vice versa. Further intervention strategies to reduce depression should address social networks factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1544-1551
Number of pages8
JournalSubstance Use and Misuse
Issue number12
StatePublished - Oct 15 2015


  • depression
  • drug users
  • longitudinal
  • network size
  • social influence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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