Similarity in friendship networks: Selection or influence? The effect of constraining contexts and non-visible attributes

M.C. de Klepper, E. Sleebos, G.G. van de Bunt, F. Agneessens

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Most research on similarity in friendship networks focuses on clearly visible individual attributes (i.e. attitudes and behaviors) in contexts where choices whom to befriend are relatively unconstrained. These studies often reveal that social selection rather than social influence is the dominant cause of similarity among friends. We argue that in a setting where social collaboration is crucial and friendship choices are more constrained, influence might be the main reason for similarity found among friends. In addition, we examined whether social categorization and peer control amplifies the social influence process among friends. Using a stochastic actor-based model for network dynamics, we analyzed a three-wave dataset of first year Royal Netherlands Naval College officer students on friendship formation and military discipline. The data supports our first hypothesis that students adjust their own military discipline to that of their friends. Contrary to our expectations, we did not find support for the idea that individuals adjust their discipline more to friends who are of the same military specialty, and neither more to friends who exert peer control. We elaborate on these findings in the discussion. © 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)82-90
Number of pages9
JournalSocial Networks
Volume32
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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