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Friendship Network Characteristics and Subjective Well-being

By M.F.J. van der Horst


This article explores how friendship network characteristics influence subjective wellbeing (SWB). Using data from the 2003 General Social Survey of Canada, this article differentiates between three components of the friendship network; the number of friends, the frequency of interaction with them and the heterogeneity of the friendship network. The main proposition is that friends bring certain benefits which in their turn increase the level of SWB, rather than that friends directly influence the level of SWB. Benefits considered here are more social trust, less stress, a better health, and more social resources. Results confirm that the influence of the friendship network characteristics mainly works through these benefits. Only the frequency of meeting your friends faceto-face has a relevant remaining direct influence on SWB. Also, differences are found within the relation between friends and the different indicators of SWB. This study, therefore, underlines the importance of looking at the indicators of SWB separately as well as at different characteristics of the friendship network

Topics: Sociale Wetenschappen, Subjective well-being, Life satisfaction, Domain satisfaction, Affect balance, Friendship network, Stress, Self-reported health, Resources, Social trust
Year: 2009
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