How Friendship Network Characteristics Influence Subjective Well-Being

Abstract

This article explores how friendship network characteristics influence subjective well-being (SWB). Using data from the 2003 General Social Survey of Canada, three components of the friendship network are differentiated: number of friends, frequency of contact, and heterogeneity of friends. We argue that these characteristics shape SWB through the benefits they bring. Benefits considered are more social trust, less stress, better health, and more social support. Results confirm that higher frequency of contacts and higher number of friends, as well as lower heterogeneity of the friendship network are related to more social trust, less stress, and a better health. Frequency of contact and number of friends, as well as more heterogeneity of the friendship network increase the chance of receiving help from friends. With the exception of receiving help from friends, these benefits are in turn related to higher levels of SWB. Only the frequency of meeting friends face-to-face has a remaining positive direct influence on SWB.

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Cite this paper

@inproceedings{Horst2012HowFN, title={How Friendship Network Characteristics Influence Subjective Well-Being}, author={Mariska van der Horst and Hilde Coff{\'e}}, year={2012} }