ERIC Number: ED262338
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1985-Aug
Reference Count: 0
Gender Differences in Predicting Loneliness from Social Network Variables.
Stokes, Joseph; Levin, Ira
Recent research suggesting a link between loneliness and social networks and a difference between males and females in both the quantity and quality of relationships support the view that loneliness can be predicted by gender from social network variables. In one study, two samples were used to explore gender differences. Sample 1, 97 males and 82 females, were undergraduates, most of whom had never married and lived at home. Sample 2, 42 males and 82 females, attended evening classes, were older than 25 years, and lived away from home (65 percent). All respondents completed the Social Network List, the Inventory of Socially Supportive Behaviors, and the Revised UCLA Loneliness Scale. In a second study, 76 male and 67 female undergradute students between the ages of 17 and 46 years completed a demographic information sheet, the Revised UCLA Loneliness Scale, the new social network density measures, and the Millers Topics Inventory. The results showed that social network characteristics, especially density, were consistently better predictors of perceived loneliness for males than for females. Uniformly, males with more highly interconnected, cohesive sets of friends reported less loneliness, while density had little correlation with loneliness in females. These results suggest that males and females may employ different standards in evaluating loneliness, with males using group oriented criteria, and females focusing on dyadic relationships. More research is needed on reciprocity, mutual emotional expressiveness, and nurturance. Such qualities may prove to be better predictors of loneliness for females than for males. (Author/TW)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association (93rd, Los Angeles, CA, August 23-27, 1985).