Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Sociology, Social Work, and Anthropology

Committee Chair(s)

Pamela J. Riley


Pamela J. Riley


Richard S. Krannich


Brian L. Pitcher


This paper examines the extent to which personal social network ties serve as support or conflict systems, or both. It investigates the differences in perception of the extent of supportive/antagonistic ties by size of community of residence and by gender of network ties cited. It was found that both support and conflict networks were more extensive for the smallest and largest communities than for a second small community which recently experienced very rapid growth. This suggests that growth patterns may be more significant in understanding network relations than community size. The findings also indicate that range of contacts reported does not differ by gender but female support and conflict networks are somewhat larger than those of males. overall, males were identified more often as a tie in emotional support contexts and females in instrumental support contexts. Females were more likely to be identified as requesting support from both genders. Women reported more duplication of support and conflict ties than men. Both males and females are far more likely to designate same-gender individuals as contact, support or antagonistic ties. The study clearly supports the notion that networks include both supportive and nonsupportive ties.



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