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Title:Social Structure Effects on Emotional Experience (Interpersonal Relationships, Coping)
Author(s):Jolly, Elizabeth Ann
Department / Program:Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Psychology, Social
Abstract:A model was proposed in which social structure influences daily emotional experience through the mediating impact of cognitive self-representations and/or qualities of the dyadic relationships that constitute a person's social network. Social network methodology was used to characterize social structure and dyadic relationships. Linville's (1985) trait and role sort measures of self-complexity were used to index self-representations. Experience-sampling of emotions yielded measures of the intensity, variability, frequency and mean of positive and negative emotion over 21 days. The major hypotheses were that a person with a densely interconnected network would have more frequent social contact, fewer socially complex relationships, a narrower range of feelings associated with each relationship, a less complex self-view, and more intense emotional experience over time.
Overall, results supported the model in that various structural aspects of the social environment were associated with particular kinds of social relationships and daily emotional experience. Emotional experience depended primarily on what went on within dyadic relationships. However, network structure appeared to "constrain" the dyadic relationships within the network. The ways in which network structure constrained dyadic relationships depended on the role-related subsection of the network, e.g., whether the relationship context was kinship or friendship.
Contrary to expectations, people in dense networks had more complex relationships and a wider range of feelings associated with their relationships. This social and emotional complexity led to more intense emotional experience over time. Relationship complexity and frequency of contact moderated the association between social network density and emotional intensity, but self-complexity did not. Membership in a dense network per se appeared to dampen emotional experience, but in dense networks people tended to have complex relationships and frequent social contact, both of which produced intense positive and negative emotional experience. Results for the overall network were replicated for peers but not for kin. A dense kin network was associated with negative feelings about relationships and fewer complex kin relationships which led to intense negative emotional experience and higher psychopathological symptomatology. The differing functions of peer and kin relationships are discussed.
Issue Date:1987
Description:124 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1987.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8711817
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-15
Date Deposited:1987

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