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Netw Sci (Camb Univ Press). 2014 Aug;2(2):189-212.

Multidimensional Homophily in Friendship Networks.

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Oxford University, Nuffield College, New Road, OX1 1NF, Oxford, United Kingdom.
Institute for Futures Studies, Box 591, Holländargatan 13, 10131 Stockholm, Sweden. . ; Department of Sociology, Stockholm University, Sweden.


Homophily - the tendency for individuals to associate with similar others - is one of the most persistent findings in social network analysis. Its importance is established along the lines of a multitude of sociologically relevant dimensions, e.g. sex, ethnicity and social class. Existing research, however, mostly focuses on one dimension at a time. But people are inherently multidimensional, have many attributes and are members of multiple groups. In this article, we explore such multidimensionality further in the context of network dynamics. Are friendship ties increasingly likely to emerge and persist when individuals have an increasing number of attributes in common? We analyze eleven friendship networks of adolescents, draw on stochastic actor-oriented network models and focus on the interaction of established homophily effects. Our results indicate that main effects for homophily on various dimensions are positive. At the same time, the interaction of these homophily effects is negative. There seems to be a diminishing effect for having more than one attribute in common. We conclude that studies of homophily and friendship formation need to address such multidimensionality further.


Adolescent Networks; Homophily; Network Evolution; Stochastic Actor-Oriented Models

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