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Dynamics of Adolescent Friendships: The Interplay between Structure and Gender

By P. Ko


This study investigates the network characteristics of adolescent friendship formations and the interaction between the network characteristics and gender. Two competing hypotheses for closure and openness are derived. Adolescents might strive for network closure because it facilitates trust among their friends. However, openness can also be beneficial because it facilitates multi-layered identities and novel ideas for school tasks. The hypothesis for interaction between gender and network characteristics is based on the premise that female and male adolescents have a difference in making friends. We apply stochastic actor-based models for network dynamics to test the hypotheses from the longitudinal friendship nominations of 406 Taiwanese adolescents. We find that adolescents have a tendency to establish friendships that lead to network closure. This tendency is stronger for male than for female adolescents in single-gender classes. On the contrary, the tendency towards network closure is stronger for female than for male adolescents in mixed-gender classes

Topics: Sociale Wetenschappen, Adolescence, Friendship, Longitudinal Networks, Gender
Year: 2011
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