Childhood Physical and Sexual Abuse and Social Network Patterns on Social Media: Associations With Alcohol Use and Problems Among Young Adult Women
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OBJECTIVE: The aim of the present study was to examine the links between severities of child abuse (physical vs. sexual), and alcohol use versus problems via social media (Facebook) peer connection structures. METHOD: A total of 318 undergraduate female students at a public university in the United States reported severity of child abuse experiences and current alcohol use and problems. Social network data were obtained directly from the individuals' Facebook network. RESULTS: Severity of childhood physical abuse was positively linked to alcohol use and problems via eigenvector centrality, whereas severity of childhood sexual abuse was negatively linked to alcohol use and problems via clustering coefficient. CONCLUSIONS: Childhood physical and sexual abuse were linked positively and negatively, respectively, to online social network patterns associated with alcohol use and problems. The study suggests the potential utility of these online network patterns as risk indices and ultimately using social media as a platform for targeted preventive interventions.
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