Drug network identification predicts injecting risk behavior among people who inject drugs on hepatitis C virus treatment in Tayside, Scotland

Amy Malaguti (Lead / Corresponding author), Christopher J. Byrne, Fabio Sani, Kevin Power, Ann Eriksen, John Dillon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
58 Downloads (Pure)


The risk of Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) acquisition among People Who Inject Drugs (PWID) remains high when injecting risk behavior within networks endures. Several psychosocial factors influence such behavior. Following a drive within Tayside, a geographic region in Scotland, to achieve World Health Organization HCV elimination targets, addressing HCV re-infection risk as a barrier to elimination is critically important. This cross-sectional study seeks to address this barrier to elimination by investigating associations between group identification (one’s subjective sense of belonging and connectedness to a social group coupled with a sense of shared goals, beliefs and values with the other members of the group) and injecting risk behavior among PWID on HCV treatment at needle and syringe provision sites in Tayside. Participants completed psychosocial questionnaires between treatment weeks zero and three of treatment. Correlation analyses were undertaken, and significant factors included in multiple linear regression models for injecting risk behavior. Injecting frequency, drug network identification, and family identification, were correlated with injecting risk behavior, and drug network identification had a positive predictive on injecting risk behavior. Identification with a social group, conventionally associated with improved health, may pose health risks in specific contexts. Healthcare providers should consider stratifying individuals with higher group identification with PWID networks for enhanced harm reduction engagement to mitigate transmissible infection risk among PWID. Additionally, psychological interventions to strengthen group identification with networks which impact positively on health behavior should be explored.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)130-140
Number of pages11
JournalBehavioral Medicine
Issue number2
Early online date21 Nov 2022
Publication statusPublished - 2024


  • group identification
  • hepatitis c virus
  • people who inject drugs
  • re-infection
  • hepatitis C virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Applied Psychology


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