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Friendship network characteristics and psychological well-being in late adolescence: Exploring differences by gender and gender composition

Author:
  • Ylva B Almquist
  • Viveca Östberg
  • Mikael Rostila
  • Christofer Edling
  • Jens Rydgren
Publishing year: 2014
Language: English
Pages: 146-154
Publication/Series: Scandinavian Journal of Public Health
Volume: 42
Issue: 2
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: SAGE Publications

Abstract english

Aims: The aim of the present study was to examine the association between friendship networks and psychological well-being among 19-year-olds. Methods: The data used was a random sample of Swedish individuals born in 1990 who answered a questionnaire in 2009–2010. Friendship networks were considered in terms of three measures of emotional support. Six statements about the individual’s emotional state were used to create a summary measure of psychological well-being. Gender and gender composition were included as potentially moderating factors. The association between friendship networks and psychological well-being was analysed by means of linear regression analysis (n = 1289). Results: The results indicate that males’ and females’ friendship networks were similar with regard to quality and trust, whereas males’ networks were characterized by less self-disclosure and a stronger preference for same-gender friendships. Gender composition did not matter for the support levels. Emotional support was associated with psychological well-being but there were gender differences: females seemed to benefit more health-wise from having high-quality (and trusting) networks. Moreover, whereas self-disclosure among males was positively linked to well-being, this was not the case among females. None of these associations were moderated by gender composition. Conclusions: In sum, friendship networks are beneficial for the psychological well-being among late adolescents, but there are some important differences according to gender.

Keywords

  • Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
  • Emotional support
  • friendship
  • gender differences
  • late adolescence
  • psychological well-being
  • social networks

Other

Published
  • ISSN: 1651-1905
Christofer Edling
E-mail: christofer [dot] edling [at] soc [dot] lu [dot] se

Dean

Faculty of Social Sciences

+46 46 222 88 62

35

Professor

Centre for Economic Demography

10

Professor

Sociology

+46 46 222 88 62

333

31

Background

I earned my PhD from Stockholm University in 1999. Between 2002 and 2005 I was Torgny Segerstedt Pro Futura Fellow at the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study at Uppsala University. I received my Docent-title in 2003, and was appointed Associate Professor at Stockholm University in 2004. From 2006 to 2008 I was Head of the Department of Sociology at Stockholm university. Before coming to Lund in 2012 I served as Full Professor of Sociology at Jacobs University, Bremen, Germany. I have been a fellow at Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin (2004/05) and Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (2013).

Department of Sociology
Lund University
Visiting address: Sandgatan 11, House G, Lund
Postal address: Box 114 , SE-221 00 LUND, SWEDEN
Telephone: Student Office +46 46-222 88 44, Lund University Switchboard +46 46-222 00 00

Faculty of Social Sciences