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Emotional Social Networks and Interpersonal Communication of Emerging Adults

TOMLIN, PETER,ROBERT (2011) Emotional Social Networks and Interpersonal Communication of Emerging Adults. Masters thesis, Durham University.

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This study examines the emotional social networks and interpersonal communication of emerging adults, focussing on both general patterns and individual differences, with data collected via questionnaire. Thirty-seven questionnaires were completed by students at Durham University aimed at eliciting details on their intimate social relationships (the support clique and sympathy group), usage of technology for communication, and personality according to the Five Factor Model of the respondents.

This study found support clique sizes of 6.44 ± 3.22 and sympathy group sizes of 14.31 ± 7.06, with female networks being approximately 1.5 times larger than male networks. Personality was also related to network size, with Agreeableness being correlated with both support clique and sympathy group size. This association was determined to be the result of individuals who had higher Agreeableness scores having both a larger number and proportion of non-kin to kin. Additionally, a trend towards sex and age biased homophily was observed, along with a preference for genetic kin in emotional social networks.

The time to last contact with a member of the network was seen to be related to their emotional closeness and geographical distance, with the respondents’ personality also playing a significant role characterised by higher levels of Extraversion and Conscientiousness reducing the time to last contact, while higher levels of Agreeableness were associated with an increased time to last contact attributed larger network size. Additionally, the form of last contact (email, social network site etc.) was found to be dependent upon the emotional closeness, geographical distance and the type of relationship.

Finally, this study found that emerging adults are heavy users of technology in communication, and that those individuals who used one form of communication were also likely to make use of others.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Science
Keywords:Social networks, Personality, Five Factor Model, Interpersonal communication
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Anthropology, Department of
Thesis Date:2011
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:17 Feb 2011 13:07

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