Date of Graduation

8-2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Sociology (MA)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Sociology and Criminal Justice

Advisor

Song Yang

Committee Member

Anna Zajicek

Second Committee Member

Patricia Herzog

Keywords

Social sciences; Core networks; Feel close to networks; Social isolation

Abstract

Evidences from interpersonal networks in which Americans discuss “important matters” (core discussion networks) suggest that Americans have become increasingly isolated. Using the national representative Science of Generosity Survey 2010, this paper revisits the issue of Social isolation. The survey asked respondents to name the people they felt close to in the last six months. On average, respondents mentioned 3.87 people they felt close to, a significant increase from the 1985 (2.94) and 2004 (2.08) core discussion networks. Education, income, and gender are significant explanatory variables for the “feel close to” networks. People with high education, those with high income, and women tend to have larger “feel close to” networks than those with low education, those with low income, and men. Despite the difference in name generators between “feel close to” networks and “core discussion” networks, this research casts serious doubts on the assertion that Americans experience increasing Social isolation.

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