Dynamic Spread of Happiness in a Large Social Network: Longitudinal Analysis Over 20 Years in the Framingham Heart Study

Department of Political Science, University of California, San Diego, CA, USA.
BMJ (online) (Impact Factor: 17.45). 02/2008; 337(dec04_2):a2338. DOI: 10.1136/bmj.a2338
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT To evaluate whether happiness can spread from person to person and whether niches of happiness form within social networks.
Longitudinal social network analysis.
Framingham Heart Study social network.
4739 individuals followed from 1983 to 2003.
Happiness measured with validated four item scale; broad array of attributes of social networks and diverse social ties.
Clusters of happy and unhappy people are visible in the network, and the relationship between people's happiness extends up to three degrees of separation (for example, to the friends of one's friends' friends). People who are surrounded by many happy people and those who are central in the network are more likely to become happy in the future. Longitudinal statistical models suggest that clusters of happiness result from the spread of happiness and not just a tendency for people to associate with similar individuals. A friend who lives within a mile (about 1.6 km) and who becomes happy increases the probability that a person is happy by 25% (95% confidence interval 1% to 57%). Similar effects are seen in coresident spouses (8%, 0.2% to 16%), siblings who live within a mile (14%, 1% to 28%), and next door neighbours (34%, 7% to 70%). Effects are not seen between coworkers. The effect decays with time and with geographical separation.
People's happiness depends on the happiness of others with whom they are connected. This provides further justification for seeing happiness, like health, as a collective phenomenon.

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Available from: James Henry Fowler, Sep 29, 2015
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    • "Literature indicates that happy people are successful in multiple domains of life, such as marriage, friendship, work, performance, salary and health, which implies a causal relationship between success and happiness [19] [20]. Fowler and Christakis [21] have noted the influence of our colleagues happiness in our own happiness. When classmates of a student increase their level of happiness this student's also increases, and when they decrease their level of happiness, the student's also decreases. "
    Ingeniare 09/2015; 23(3):341-347. DOI:10.4067/S0718-33052015000300003
    • "In a similar vein, some studies consider the persuasive power of opinion leaders to be overrated: A sufficient number of easily influenceable individuals is seen more important than few influential network hubs (e.g., Watts and Dodds, 2007); people tend to associate and conform with others from similar socio-economic classes (e.g., Eppstein et al., 2011; Kossinets and Watts, 2006). However, this homophily claim is contested (e.g., Wejnert, 2002; Fowler and Christakis, 2008). "
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    ABSTRACT: Early adopters promoting electric vehicles in their social network may speed up market uptake of this technology. Apart from their opinion leader status, few previous research details the motivations which turn early adopters into advocates for innovation who approach the non-adopters among their family and friends, or casual acquaintances. Drawing on a survey among 1398 e-bike and 133 e-scooter early adopters in Austria, personal drivers of engagement in interpersonal diffusion are investigated. Longitudinal data one year later for 157 e-bike users allows tests of causal relations. A complementary sample of 33 network peers illustrates the early adopters’ social impact. Early adopters engage actively in discussing product features, instigating trial behavior and recommending purchase. Analyses by structural equation modeling show that efforts at interpersonal diffusion are driven by opinion leadership, experienced product performance, and perceived normative expectations of others toward pro-environmental technologies. Mediator and moderator analyses underline that opinion leadership is conveyed upon early adopters because personal norms and technophilia qualify them as credible and competent for the specific topic of e-vehicles. Social norm interrelations point to dynamic interactions and discourse between early adopters and their addressees. Evidence from the peer sample suggests though that the persuasive impact of early adopters is small. To accelerate market entry of electric vehicles, public or private agencies should foremost approach early adopters scoring high in the identified drivers, and empower them in their role as multiplicators by providing pre-prepared product information and encouraging them to continuously address peers.
    Transportation Research Part A Policy and Practice 08/2015; 78:146-160. DOI:10.1016/j.tra.2015.04.017 · 2.79 Impact Factor
    • "Whole network data thus make it possible to analyze how certain phenomena (e.g., obesity , delinquency) spread through an area [148]. The Framingham data, for example, have been used to study how network structure influences the spread of obesity, happiness , smoking, and alcohol consumption, among other important individual outcomes [29] [30] [51] [124]. "
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    ABSTRACT: This paper highlights the importance of the social networks perspective in social science research and describes the main approaches to measuring social networks and closely related phenomena - including social capital and kin networks - in existing household panel surveys. It then identifies cutting-edge techniques for collecting new data on social networks within the context of a household panel survey design. We focus in particular on possible extensions to traditional egocentric network data collection, the proper enumeration of kin networks and social support in unstable and complex families, measurement of communication via information and communication technology, and identification of the social network properties of social media participation.
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