Using Social Network Analysis to Strengthen Organizational Relationships to Better Serve Expectant and Parenting Young People

Amanda Purington, Erica Stupp, Dora Welker, Jane Powers, Mousumi Banikya-Leaseburg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
17 Downloads (Pure)


INTRODUCTION: Expectant and parenting young people (young parents) need a range of supports but may have difficulty accessing existing resources. An optimally connected network of organizations can help young parents navigate access to available services. Community organizations participating in the Pathways to Success (Pathways) initiative sought to strengthen their network of support for young parents through social network analysis (SNA) undertaken within an action research framework.

METHOD: Evaluators and community partners utilized a survey and analysis tool to map and describe the local network of service providers offering resources to young parents. Respondents were asked to characterize their relationship with all other organizations in the network. Following survey analysis, all participants were invited to discuss and interpret the results and plan the next actions to improve the network on behalf of young parents.

RESULTS: Scores described the diversity of organizations in the network, density of connections across the community, degree to which the network was centralized or decentralized, which organizations were central or outliers, frequency of contact, levels of collaboration, and levels of trust. Findings were interpreted with survey participants and used by Pathways staff for action planning to improve their network.

DISCUSSION: SNA clarified complex relationships and set service providers on a path toward optimizing their network. The usefulness of SNA to impact and improve a network approach to supporting young parents is discussed, including lessons learned from this project.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)232-242
Number of pages11
JournalMaternal and Child Health Journal
Early online date5 Sept 2020
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2020


  • Collaboration
  • Social network analysis
  • Systems-level intervention
  • Young parents

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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