New Post-Doc Proposal to the National Institute of Health

In December 2013, Robin Gautier of Duke University submitted and NIH application to work at the REACH Lab from Sept 2014-August 2016.

Her project will use advanced social network analysis techniques to investigate suicide trends in Inuit communities. As the tenth leading cause of death among all Americans and the eighth leading cause of death among American Indians, suicide is widely recognized as a serious public health problem. Sociologists and public health officials also recognize the powerful potential of social integration for suicide prevention. Past work has shown the negative consequences of social isolation for depression and suicide. The public health implications for these results are clear: at risk individuals should be socially integrated into a community.  This notion of integration, however compelling, is ultimately incomplete: for it ignores the fact that risky behaviors are introduced and developed in a social context, often with the very people who provide material and emotional support.  It is this duality that this project hopes to exploit. The current investigation models the content of social relationships as eight distinct network domains: traditional food and knowledge exchanges; domestic and professional support; alcohol co-use; and kinship  to better understand how suicide risks map onto the relational patterns of everyday life. Specifically, the present investigation will identify individual profiles of suicide risk based on: 1) the pattern of ties between contacts within network domains 2) the domain overlap of relationships and 3) the presence of relationships embedded in supportive and risky network domains. After they are discovered, the risk profiles will be validated with qualitative data derived from interviews.

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