Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Variety of casual acquaintances affects success and health

25.02.2003


Knowing many kinds of people in many social contexts improves one’s chance of getting a good job, developing a range of cultural interests, feeling in control of one’s life and feeling healthy. Many know how important networking is, says researcher Bonnie Erickson, but the critical matter is the variety of acquaintances and not the mere number.

Erickson, Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto, presents her research in an article, “Social Networks: The Value of Variety,” in the winter 2003 issue of Contexts magazine, a highly accessible science journal of the American Sociological Association.

Unlike close friends and family, informal acquaintances tend to be more diverse—both because weak ties greatly outnumber strong ones, and because our close ties are usually limited to people very similar to ourselves, according to Erickson.



“In general, every kind of social advantage tends to generate a network advantage, which in turn helps the socially advantaged stay ahead,” says Erickson. Reviewing research on people’s social networks in several countries, she found that “being of higher status goes with having a wider variety of acquaintances.”

In order to measure diversity of acquaintanceship, Erickson presented respondents with a list of occupations that range in degrees of prestige, and asked whether the respondent knew anyone in each. The greater number of occupations within which the respondent has contacts, the greater the variety in the person’s social network. Her studies take into account other characteristics, such as education and gender.

“Acquaintances are more varied, less like each other,” says Erickson, “and more likely have new information and more likely to include people highly placed enough to influence hiring. Thus family and close friends provide fewer jobs (and often worse jobs) than do people outside the intimate circle.”

More highly placed people generally have connections to higher-placed jobs. An advantage of having varied connections is an improved chance of knowing such a useful contact. Another advantage of diversified connections is their value as an ensemble, because employers seeking to fill higher positions often want people with varied connections that the firm can use.

“The more varied a person’s network, the more that network can do for the organization,” says Erickson. “Employees with more network variety got jobs with higher rank and higher income.”

In addition to job connections, Erickson researched participants in a Toronto social movement and found that people with diversified general networks were less depressed. People with more diverse contacts in the group more often felt participation had improved their health.

Acquaintances help to ensure a sense of control over one’s life. People who feel more in control are less depressed. Also a feeling of control encourages people tackle with problems, which helps to better cope with stress.

“Acquaintance diversity also contributes to being better informed about health,” says Erickson. People with wider networks are better informed about most things, but they may not realize how many of their good health practices go back to a thousand tiny nudges from casual conversations.”

In conclusion, Erickson says that diversity of acquaintanceship itself improves health and happiness. The combination of feeling in control and being better informed flow from the diversity of acquaintances. She suggests that other characteristics of network variety should be explored in addition to occupation, such as variety of gender and ethnicity.


The American Sociological Association, founded in 1905, is a non-profit membership association dedicated to serving sociologists in their work, advancing sociology as a science and profession, and promoting the contributions and use of sociology to society

Johanna Ebner | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.asanet.org/

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht New population data provide insight on aging, migration
31.08.2016 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

nachricht PRB projects world population rising 33 percent by 2050 to nearly 10 billion
25.08.2016 | Population Reference Bureau

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: OLED microdisplays in data glasses for improved human-machine interaction

The Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP has been developing various applications for OLED microdisplays based on organic semiconductors. By integrating the capabilities of an image sensor directly into the microdisplay, eye movements can be recorded by the smart glasses and utilized for guidance and control functions, as one example. The new design will be debuted at Augmented World Expo Europe (AWE) in Berlin at Booth B25, October 18th – 19th.

“Augmented-reality” and “wearables” have become terms we encounter almost daily. Both can make daily life a little simpler and provide valuable assistance for...

Im Focus: Artificial Intelligence Helps in the Discovery of New Materials

With the help of artificial intelligence, chemists from the University of Basel in Switzerland have computed the characteristics of about two million crystals made up of four chemical elements. The researchers were able to identify 90 previously unknown thermodynamically stable crystals that can be regarded as new materials. They report on their findings in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters.

Elpasolite is a glassy, transparent, shiny and soft mineral with a cubic crystal structure. First discovered in El Paso County (Colorado, USA), it can also be...

Im Focus: Complex hardmetal tools out of the 3D printer

For the first time, Fraunhofer IKTS shows additively manufactured hardmetal tools at WorldPM 2016 in Hamburg. Mechanical, chemical as well as a high heat resistance and extreme hardness are required from tools that are used in mechanical and automotive engineering or in plastics and building materials industry. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems IKTS in Dresden managed the production of complex hardmetal tools via 3D printing in a quality that are in no way inferior to conventionally produced high-performance tools.

Fraunhofer IKTS counts decades of proven expertise in the development of hardmetals. To date, reliable cutting, drilling, pressing and stamping tools made of...

Im Focus: Launch of New Industry Working Group for Process Control in Laser Material Processing

At AKL’16, the International Laser Technology Congress held in May this year, interest in the topic of process control was greater than expected. Appropriately, the event was also used to launch the Industry Working Group for Process Control in Laser Material Processing. The group provides a forum for representatives from industry and research to initiate pre-competitive projects and discuss issues such as standards, potential cost savings and feasibility.

In the age of industry 4.0, laser technology is firmly established within manufacturing. A wide variety of laser techniques – from USP ablation and additive...

Im Focus: New laser joining technologies at ‘K 2016’ trade fair

Every three years, the plastics industry gathers at K, the international trade fair for plastics and rubber in Düsseldorf. The Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will also be attending again and presenting many innovative technologies, such as for joining plastics and metals using ultrashort pulse lasers. From October 19 to 26, you can find the Fraunhofer ILT at the joint Fraunhofer booth SC01 in Hall 7.

K is the world’s largest trade fair for the plastics and rubber industry. As in previous years, the organizers are expecting 3,000 exhibitors and more than...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Experts from industry and academia discuss the future mobile telecommunications standard 5G

23.09.2016 | Event News

ICPE in Graz for the seventh time

20.09.2016 | Event News

Using mathematical models to understand our brain

16.09.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Chains of nanogold – forged with atomic precision

23.09.2016 | Life Sciences

New leukemia treatment offers hope

23.09.2016 | Health and Medicine

Self-assembled nanostructures hit their target

23.09.2016 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>