Dr. Richard M. Wielkiewicz, Psychology
The main hypothesis of the present study was that more variation in an emerging adult’s social network should predict higher levels of happiness and lower levels of stress. It was also predicted that introversion–extraversion would moderate these relationships. Participants were 318 college students from two small, Catholic liberal arts institutions in the Upper Midwest. The variation (i.e., friends with varied interests and activities) of an individual’s social network was measured by a researcher-developed inventory (Social Network Variation Scale; SNVS). Social network strength was measured by the researcher-developed Social Network Strength Scale (SNSS). Results showed strong support for nine of ten hypotheses. People with more variation in their social network had higher levels of happiness and lower levels of stress. Similarly, people with more close or strong friends in their social network had higher levels of happiness and lower levels of stress. Autonomy mediates the relationships between variation and stress and strength and stress. Personality moderates the relationships between variation and happiness and variation and stress. These results suggest that college students might benefit from focusing time and energy on building relationships with individuals who have a variety of interests.
Immelman, Timothy D., "Who Wants to Join? Variation and Strength in Social Networks" (2017). All College Thesis Program, 2016-2019. 33.