The power of personal networks and how they shape our capacity to manage health and illness

A personal network is a ‘small worlds’ micro social system combining the relationships people (egos) develops and maintain with other individuals (alter). This seminar explores how working with personal networks can take the aspiration of self- management beyond the confines of traditional medical and health care settings to an arena in which connections and the mobilisation of resources might act as powerful sources of support. Personal networks methods have the capacity to illuminate the context of living everyday life with a health problem, the extent to which people are isolated or receive support from others, if and how they have access to resources provided by others, and how others influence their practices and behaviours. The concentric circle (name generator based) tool is an established method that allows analysis across interactive network dimensions. Drawing on empirical research, along with the development and implementation of a social intervention, we draw out the power and potential of small world connections to illuminate a socially grounded approach to health and illness management.

Anne Rogers is Professor of Medical Sociology & Health Systems Implementation. Her research interests include research in the sociological aspects of mental health and illness, users’ experiences of health care, health need and demand for care, and how patients adapt to and incorporate new technologies into their everyday life. Currently she is focused on addressing how personal and social networks and relationships in domestic and community settings act as a conduit for accessing resources and support for managing health and illness.

Ivaylo Vassilev is Principal research fellow in health sciences he has a background is in sociology and his current research is focused on the political economy of chronic illness and using networks methodologies for the study of chronic illness management and developing, further designing and studying the implementation of a social network intervention for managing health and illness.

Affiliation: Social Networks, Health and Well-being Research group, University of Southampton, United Kingdom.

Register to attend

Need assistance to register for this seminar? Ring +612 9385 6776.