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Psychol Sci. 2012 Dec;23(12):1542-8. doi: 10.1177/0956797612446708. Epub 2012 Nov 5.

Optimal social-networking strategy is a function of socioeconomic conditions.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville 22904-4400, USA.

Abstract

In the two studies reported here, we examined the relation among residential mobility, economic conditions, and optimal social-networking strategy. In study 1, a computer simulation showed that regardless of economic conditions, having a broad social network with weak friendship ties is advantageous when friends are likely to move away. By contrast, having a small social network with deep friendship ties is advantageous when the economy is unstable but friends are not likely to move away. In study 2, we examined the validity of the computer simulation using a sample of American adults. Results were consistent with the simulation: American adults living in a zip code where people are residentially stable but economically challenged were happier if they had a narrow but deep social network, whereas in other socioeconomic conditions, people were generally happier if they had a broad but shallow networking strategy. Together, our studies demonstrate that the optimal social-networking strategy varies as a function of socioeconomic conditions.

PMID:
23129061
DOI:
10.1177/0956797612446708
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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