Social Network Targeting to Maximise Population Behaviour Change: A Cluster Randomised Controlled Trial

July 16, 2015 by David A. Kim, Alison R. Hwong, Derek Stafford, D. Alex Hughes, A. James O'Malley, James H. Fowler, Nicholas A. Christakis

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Information and behaviour can spread through interpersonal ties. By targeting influential individuals, health interventions that harness the distributive properties of social networks could be made more effective and efficient than those that do not. Our aim was to assess which targeting methods produce the greatest cascades or spillover effects and hence maximise population-level behaviour change. In this cluster randomised trial, participants were recruited from villages of the Department of Lempira, Honduras. We blocked villages on the basis of network size, socioeconomic status, and baseline rates of water purification, for delivery of two public health interventions: chlorine for water purification and multivitamins for micronutrient deficiencies.