To analyze networks of social interactions between the residents of a therapeutic community (TC) for women and the way, in which such interactions predict the discussion of issues that arise in treatment.
In total, 50 residents of a corrections-based TC for women were surveyed on the peers with whom they socialized informally, shared meals, shared letters from home and discussed issues that arose in treatment over a 12 h period. The data were analyzed using exponential random graph models (ERGM).
Reciprocity occurred in all networks while transitivity (a tendency of two residents who are connected to both connect to a third peer) occurred in all networks measuring informal social interactions. When controlling for reciprocity and transitivity, residents avoided spending social time or sharing meals with the same peers. There was no evidence of homophily by race, age or years of education. Homophily by entrance time and case manager occurred in social time. Case manager homophily occurred in the discussion of treatment issues but disappeared when controlling for social time and sharing letters from home.
Social networks in this TC arise from factors endogenous to the TC itself. It should be possible to determine the characteristics of optimal social networks in TCs. External validity is limited.
It should be possible to intervene to optimize the social networks of TC residents.
This is the first ERGM analysis of both informal and formal interactions in a TC.
The authors would like to acknowledge funding from NIH Grant 1R34DA043079-01A1 as well as valuable discussions with Skyler Cranmer, Candace Paulucci and Annette Dominguez.
Cao, Q., Liao, L. and Warren, K.L. (2020), "Social and programmatic interactions in a therapeutic community for women: an exponential random graph model analysis", Therapeutic Communities: The International Journal of Therapeutic Communities, Vol. 41 No. 3/4, pp. 69-79. https://doi.org/10.1108/TC-08-2019-0008Download as .RIS
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