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Event: Networks Lunch Colloquium: Social Networks and COVID-19

Join us for talks, lunch, and catching up with networks researchers at IU

Friday, Feb 24th 2023 at 12:00 PM
SSRC Grand Hall (Woodburn Hall 200); Zoom

Join us for the first lunch colloquium in our spring 2023 series — a collaboration with the Sociology Department's WiSIU series! IUNI will provide lunch for all in-person participants.

Speakers: Brea Perry (IUNI Advisory Council Member; Professor, Sociology), BK Lee (Assistant Professor, Sociology), and Max Coleman (PhD candidate, Sociology).

Register today — in-person spots are limited! If you're unable to attend in person, Zoom attendance is available.


Brea Perry

Title: "The mental health of young adults during the pandemic:  Protective effects of social networks"

BK Lee

Title: "Ingroup bias and othering process in close social ties: How Americans perceive COVID-19 susceptibility of others during the COVID-19 pandemic."

Abstract: Americans have increasingly experienced homogeneous contexts in their life. How does homogeneity shape our perception of the health status of others within our close social ties? Using a nationwide daily ego-centric network survey data collected during the COVID-19 pandemic from April 2020 to April 2021, we show that Americans perceived their close confidants with the same racial and partisan background to be less susceptible to COVID-19 infection than other groups. At the same time, they perceived racial and political minorities among their confidants to be more likely to get COVID-19. We examine potential mechanisms to explain the patterns of ingroup bias and othering processes in perceptions of COVID-19 susceptibility. We discuss how the “othering” process that shapes the micro-level perception of race and partisan groups in social interactions may induce disease transmission dynamics that generate health inequality at the macro level.

Max Coleman

Title: "What Kinds of Social Networks Protect Older Adults’ Health During a Pandemic? The Tradeoff between Preventing Infection and Promoting Mental Health."

Abstract: When the coronavirus emerged in early 2020, older adults were at heightened risk of contracting the virus, and of suffering mental health consequences from the pandemic and from the precautions designed to mitigate it. In this presentation, we examine how social networks prior to the pandemic helped to shape health beliefs, behaviors, and outcomes among older adults during its onset, focusing on (1) perceived risk of COVID-19, (2) preventative health behaviors, and (3) mental health, including loneliness, perceived stress, depression, and anxiety. Drawing on the longitudinal Social Networks in Alzheimer Disease study, we find that networks high in bridging social capital predict greater perceived risk and more precautions taken, but worse mental health. In contrast, networks high in bonding social capital predict less perceived risk and fewer precautions taken, but better mental health. We discuss this apparent tradeoff between physical and mental health.