The Power of Brokerage: Case Study of Normative Behavior, Latinas and Cervical Cancer

Published In

Communication Research

Document Type


Publication Date



Informed by the theory of normative social behavior (TNSB) and ego-network analysis, the present study outlines the mechanisms that contribute to the creation and maintenance of social norms and their subsequent behavioral outcomes. By analyzing different patterns of normative influence associated with cervical cancer detection among Latinas (N = 982), the study concludes that network brokerage provides individuals with nonredundant information, helps resist normative pressure, and contributes to efficacy beliefs, promoting more informed decision making. Conversely, network closure perpetuates conformity, increases the influence of social norms, and induces less confidence in individual’s ability to comply with cervical cancer screening, subjecting Latinas to unnecessary health risks. Overall, the results suggest that the study of normative influence should be combined with social network analysis, trying to shed a light on the distinct social structures and communication practices that can either reinforce or challenge norms. These findings extend the discussion of social norms in health-related decision making to a more nuanced approach that recognizes the antecedents and outcomes of normative influence.


© The Author(s) 2017



Persistent Identifier