Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences - Research Publications

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    Comparison of three methods for ascertainment of contact information relevant to respiratory pathogen transmission in encounter networks
    McCaw, JM ; Forbes, K ; Nathan, PM ; Pattison, PE ; Robins, GL ; Nolan, TM ; McVernon, J (BMC, 2010-06-10)
    BACKGROUND: Mathematical models of infection that consider targeted interventions are exquisitely dependent on the assumed mixing patterns of the population. We report on a pilot study designed to assess three different methods (one retrospective, two prospective) for obtaining contact data relevant to the determination of these mixing patterns. METHODS: 65 adults were asked to record their social encounters in each location visited during 6 study days using a novel method whereby a change in physical location of the study participant triggered data entry. Using a cross-over design, all participants recorded encounters on 3 days in a paper diary and 3 days using an electronic recording device (PDA). Participants were randomised to first prospective recording method. RESULTS: Both methods captured more contacts than a pre-study questionnaire, but ascertainment using the paper diary was superior to the PDA (mean difference: 4.52 (95% CI 0.28, 8.77). Paper diaries were found more acceptable to the participants compared with the PDA. Statistical analysis confirms that our results are broadly consistent with those reported from large-scale European based surveys. An association between household size (trend 0.14, 95% CI (0.06, 0.22), P < 0.001) and composition (presence of child 0.37, 95% CI (0.17, 0.56), P < 0.001) and the total number of reported contacts was observed, highlighting the importance of sampling study populations based on household characteristics as well as age. New contacts were still being recorded on the third study day, but compliance had declined, indicating that the optimal number of sample days represents a trade-off between completeness and quality of data for an individual. CONCLUSIONS: The study's location-based reporting design allows greater scope compared to other methods for examining differences in the characteristics of encounters over a range of environments. Improved parameterisation of dynamic transmission models gained from work of this type will aid in the development of more robust decision support tools to assist health policy makers and planners.
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    New specifications for exponential random graph models
    Snijders, TAB ; Pattison, PE ; Robins, GL ; Handcock, MS ; Stolzenberg, RM (WILEY-BLACKWELL, 2006-01-01)
    The most promising class of statistical models for expressing structural properties of social networks observed at one moment in time is the class of exponential random graph models (ERGMs), also known as p* models. The strong point of these models is that they can represent a variety of structural tendencies, such as transitivity, that define complicated dependence patterns not easily modeled by more basic probability models. Recently, Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) algorithms have been developed that produce approximate maximum likelihood estimators. Applying these models in their traditional specification to observed network data often has led to problems, however, which can be traced back to the fact that important parts of the parameter space correspond to nearly degenerate distributions, which may lead to convergence problems of estimation algorithms, and a poor fit to empirical data. This paper proposes new specifications of exponential random graph models. These specifications represent structural properties such as transitivity and heterogeneity of degrees by more complicated graph statistics than the traditional star and triangle counts. Three kinds of statistics are proposed: geometrically weighted degree distributions, alternating k-triangles, and alternating independent two-paths. Examples are presented both of modeling graphs and digraphs, in which the new specifications lead to much better results than the earlier existing specifications of the ERGM. It is concluded that the new specifications increase the range and applicability of the ERGM as a tool for the statistical analysis of social networks.
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    Obesity-related behaviors in adolescent friendship networks
    de la Haye, K ; Robins, G ; Mohr, P ; Wilson, C (ELSEVIER, 2010-07-01)
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    Hegemonic and Other Masculinities in Local Social Contexts
    Lusher, D ; Robins, G (SAGE PUBLICATIONS INC, 2009-06-01)
    This article is a theoretical examination of Connell's social theory of gender, discussing how hegemonic, complicit, subordinate, and marginalized masculinities interact and relate to one another in the men's everyday lives in particular social contexts. Connell's theory is articulated in global terms that need to be localized to examine the actual interactions of men with one another. The theory implies a multilevel framework that the authors develop more explicitly. They investigate two interrelated theoretical concerns: (a) inadequately detailed interdependencies between structural, individual, and cultural factors with respect to masculinities, and (b) the lack of contextualization of masculinities in specific relational settings. The authors suggest that theoretical insights gained from social network theory and analysis allow such issues to be addressed and assist in local-level accounts of gendered power relations. The authors conclude by specifying Connell's theory into particular, testable hypotheses for use with statistical models for social networks.
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    Structural Logic of Intraorganizational Networks
    Rank, ON ; Robins, GL ; Pattison, PE (INFORMS, 2010-05-01)
    In this study we examine the structural logic underlying complex intraorganizational networks. Drawing on different propositions about structural regularities in networks and using a comparative case study, we empirically investigate the structural logic of collaborative networks for the strategic decision process in two German corporations. In both organizations, data were gathered on cooperative relationships between all managers belonging to the top two management levels. We model structural regularities at the dyadic and the extradyadic level by applying a class of multivariate exponential random graph models. Our findings contribute to the existing literature in three ways: (1) Although networks are particularly likely to exhibit some types of structural regularities (e.g., reciprocity and transitivity), there are other relational forms such as cycles that seem to be of limited relevance. (2) Structural regularities are not limited to a single type of relation but may comprise instrumental and affective relational ties simultaneously. (3) An organization's formal cooperation structure has surprisingly limited influence on the structural patterns of cooperation, whereas friendship ties are embedded in managers' regular interaction patterns in many different ways.
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    Recent developments in exponential random graph (p*) models for social networks
    Robins, G ; Snijders, T ; Wang, P ; Handcock, M ; Pattison, P (ELSEVIER, 2007-05-01)
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    An introduction to exponential random graph (p*) models for social networks
    Robins, G ; Pattison, P ; Kalish, Y ; Lusher, D (ELSEVIER, 2007-05-01)