Social Networks of Substance Users With HIV Infection: Application of the Norbeck Social Support Scale

Patricia J. Kelly, Megha Ramaswamy, Xuan Li, Alain H. Litwin, Karina M. Berg, Julia H. Arnsten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Scopus citations


The role of social support networks in medication adherence among HIV-infected substance users remains understudied. In this secondary data analysis, the authors sought to determine the relationship between social support networks and antiretroviral adherence among HIV-infected substance abusers receiving methadone. They analyzed data collected in a 24-week study of 76 methadone-maintained, HIV-infected substance abusers randomized to directly observed antiretroviral therapy or treatment as usual. The authors used logistic regression to examine the relationship between social support networks and self-reported antiretroviral adherence. Their results showed that study participants had an average of 1.36 social network members (SD = 1.4); 34% of participants had at least one drug user and 25% had at least one HIV-infected person in their network. The presence of network drug users and HIV-infected network members was associated with less antiretroviral medication adherence (p < .05). The authors conclude that both social network density and characteristics of network members have implications for medication adherence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)621-634
Number of pages14
JournalWestern Journal of Nursing Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - Aug 1 2012



  • HIV positive
  • Norbeck Social Support Scale
  • social networks
  • social support
  • substance use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)

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