Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 2019


Counselor Education | Educational Psychology | School Psychology | Student Counseling and Personnel Services


Participants were 318 college students from two small, Catholic liberal arts institutions in the Upper Midwest. Variation (i.e., having friends with varied interests and activities) of an individual’s social network was measured by a researcher-developed inventory, the Social Network Variation Scale (SNVS). Social network strength was measured by the researcher-developed Social Network Strength Scale (SNSS). People with more variation or more strength in their social network had higher levels of happiness and lower levels of stress. Autonomy mediated the relationships between variation and stress and strength and stress. Personality moderated the relationships between variation and happiness and variation and stress.


Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Timothy D. Immelman, Department of Educational Psychology, 323 Aderhold Hall, 110 Carlton Street, Athens, GA 30602;

Timothy D. Immelman is a 2017 psychology graduate of St. John’s University, currently a doctoral candidate in School Psychology in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Georgia. Richard M. Wielkiewicz is Professor of Psychology at the College of St. Benedict.

This article is based on the All-College Thesis “Who Wants to Join? Variation and Strength in Social Networks,” submitted by Timothy D. Immelman in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Bachelor of Arts degree with distinction in psychology, St. John’s University, Collegeville, MN, May 2017.

Acknowledgments: This research was supported in part by a College of St. Benedict/St. John’s University summer research fellowship. Committee members Stephen P. Stelzner, Pamela L. Bacon, and Michael G. Livingston read and critiqued the thesis on which this article is based.

College Student Journal

ISSN: 0146-3934

Founded in 1966, College Student Journal has been published continuously for over 50 years. The first editor was Dr. Russel N. Cassel, then of the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. The journal publishes original investigations and theoretical papers dealing with college student values, attitudes, opinions, and learning. Topics include the areas of undergraduate, graduate, and professional schools, and may also include selected contributions dealing with college preparation. In 2004 ownership of College Student Journal was acquired by Dr. Phil Feldman and Dr. George E. Uhlig, Dean Emeritus of the College of Education at the University of South Alabama. In 2011, Dr. Feldman assumed ownership and editorial responsibilities.

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Related report

Immelman, T. D., (2017). Who wants to join? Variation and strength in social networks [All-college thesis, St. John’s University/College of St. Benedict]. Digital Commons.

Note: Winner of CSB/SJU’s 2016-2017 “Outstanding All-College Thesis Award.”

Social Network Variation Scale.pdf (308 kB)
Social Network Variation Scale

Social Network Strength Scale.pdf (306 kB)
Social Network Strength Scale

College Student Journal cover.JPG (34 kB)