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The Embeddedness of Adolescent Friendship: New Friends from Emergent Network Structures Kenneth A. Frank Michigan State University Chandra Muller University.

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Presentation on theme: "The Embeddedness of Adolescent Friendship: New Friends from Emergent Network Structures Kenneth A. Frank Michigan State University Chandra Muller University."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Embeddedness of Adolescent Friendship: New Friends from Emergent Network Structures Kenneth A. Frank Michigan State University Chandra Muller University of Texas Anna Strassmann Mueller University of Memphis Presented at Academia Sinica Taipei Aug 2014

2 Support This research uses data from the AHAA study, which was funded by a grant (R01 HD040428-02, Chandra Muller, PI) from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, and a grant (REC-0126167, Chandra Muller, PI, and Pedro Reyes, Co-PI) from the National Science Foundation. This research was also supported by grant, 5 R24 HD042849, Population Research Center, awarded to the Population Research Center at The University of Texas at Austin by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Health and Child Development. This research also uses data from Add Health, a program project directed by Kathleen Mullan Harris and designed by J. Richard Udry, Peter S. Bearman, and Kathleen Mullan Harris at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and funded by grant P01- HD31921 from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, with cooperative funding from 23 other federal agencies and foundations. Special acknowledgment is due Ronald R. Rindfuss and Barbara Entwisle for assistance in the original design. Information on how to obtain the Add Health data files is available on the Add Health website ( No direct support was received from grant P01- HD31921 for this analysis. Copies of this paper were presented at workshops at Notre Dame’s Center for Research on Educational Opportunity and at the University of Texas Population Center. We thank our audiences at those presentations for their thoughtful comments. Opinions reflect those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the granting agencies. National Institute of Child Health and Human DevelopmentNational Science FoundationPopulation Research Center

3 Abstract Together, theories of social embeddedness and social capital have contributed to a rational analysis of the value of resources that inhere in social relations, but little is known about how those relationships form and are structured by social institutions. Using the Adolescent Health and Academic Achievement (AHAA) and the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) studies, the odds of a new friendship nomination were 1.77 greater within clusters of high school students who take courses together than between them. The estimated effect cannot be attributed to exposure to peers in similar grade levels, indirect friendship links or through pair level course overlap, and the finding is robust to alternative model specifications. The authors also show how tendencies associated with status hierarchy inhering in triadic friendship nominations are neutralized within the clusters. These results have implications for the production and distribution of social capital within social systems such as schools, giving the clusters social salience as “local positions.” Keywords: adolescence; social capital; emergent structure; social reproduction, social Keywords: adolescence; social capital; emergent structure; social reproduction

4 Rational Analysis of the Benefits of Social Relations Social embeddedness –People give preference to those with whom they share social relations Social capital –Many benefits (and some constraints) of resources embedded in social relations

5 Friendship Resources A B C D Friendship AB Friendship AC Friendship AD Adolescent Friendships as Academic Resources: The Intersection of Friendship, Race, and School Disadvantage Robert CrosnoeRobert Crosnoe, Shannon Cavanagh, Glen H. Elder Jr.Shannon CavanaghGlen H. Elder Jr. Sociological Perspectives, Vol. 46, No. 3 (Autumn, 2003), pp. 331-352

6 Resources Include Social and Emotional Support –Eder 1985 Academic resources: –Crosnoe et al. 2003; Alfassi 1998; Fuchs, Fuchs, and Kazdan 1999; Riegle-Crumb et al 2006 Basis for rebellion –McFarland, 2001

7 So Where does Social Capital come from? –Not how is it cultivated in a system (that’s another paper, or Putnam) –But how do the underlying social relations form? –How is the process shaped by social institutions such as the school? –Rational analysis of relationship formation

8 Social Capital Emerges with Structures Created by Individual Agency within Organizational Constraint Adolescents: Individual preference for homophily within organizational constraint of grade level (Zhen and Xie 2008) Young adults: choice homophily within homophily induced by structural constraints in email lists and courses (Kossinets and Watts 2009) Treat individual agency and constraint as separate, independent factors. We will look at how the confluence of individual agency and organizational constraint creates emergent social structures that then shape friendship formation

9 Constraint and Agency in Friendship Choices Macro constraint (course offerings, grades) Individual agency (course choices) Friendship choices Preference homophily Opportunities homophily

10 Extension: Emergent Structures Defined by Multiple Shared Activities Sports based on extra curriculum –much of student social experience is during the regular curriculum –1,000 hours/year in social experiences called “courses” Consider common participation in multiple activities Basketball and drama Latin Club and internetkids –Combination of experiences defines new shared experience Tired going from practice to rehearsal –Common transitions Observe one another Time and opportunity to initiate contact –Common sets of interests –Differentiation from others

11 Beyond Simply Shared Activities Crosnoe (2011, page 25) : The morning is a grind for Chris, with all of his pre-AP classes lined up in a row. He is pulling As, but it is tough work. Most of his closest friends - a group of nine guys and five girls he has known since elementary school - take the same classes. Because they all need to be on (or their parents keep them on) the AP track and because there are only so many pre-AP and AP classes at Lamar, they typically get to move from class to class more or less en masse. This is a good thing because they help each other get by - talking to each other about homework, translating what teachers say for each other. Perhaps more importantly, they harass each other when one of them gets a bad grade, their taunts of being ACC bound (short for Austin Community College) providing enough motivation to ensure that the next grade will be better. common courses and transitions lead to an emergent group Support: “help each other get by” normative sanctions: harassment associated with a bad grade Emergent group “en masse”, not just a particular course or shared courses between pairs of adolescents, becomes a salient context.

12 Organization of Opportunities for Interaction in the School: Local Positions Clusters of students who take courses together Preserves duality of data (students and courses) Apply cluster analysis to the set of transcripts in each school –Transcripts represent people and experiences See –Field, Samuel H., Kenneth A. Frank, Kathryn Schiller, Catherine Riegle-Crumb, and Chandra Muller. 2006. "Identifying Social Positions From Affiliation Networks: Preserving the Duality of People and Events." Social Networks 28(2): 97-186. Field and Frank equal coauthors –Frank, K.A., Muller, C., Schiller, K., Riegle-Crumb, C., Strassman-Muller, A., Crosnoe, R., Pearson J. 2008. “The Social Dynamics of Mathematics CourseTaking in high school.” American Journal of Sociology, Vol 113 (6): 1645- 1696.

13 Conceptualization of Clustering in 2-Mode data From Skvoretz and Faust’s adaptation of p* models Event 2-stars Actor 2-stars

14 E H GI D AF B C

15 Quick Plug for Software er er

16 Advantages of Local Positions as Pools of Potential Friends Focused around curricular experiences – courses –Common sets of interests –In- vs Out- group distinctions –Third parties present for norms –Opportunities to observe and initiate interactions –Common transitions between events Reduce transaction costs of friendship formation Based on combinations of experiences Unique and emergent in each school –Algorithm applied uniformly to transcript data in each Add Health school, clusters differ by school Create basis for identity

17 Local Positions: The Confluence of Constraint and Agency Macro constraint (course offerings, grades) Individual agency (course choices) Local PositionsFriendship choices Preference homophily Opportunities homophily

18 Hypothesis regarding Local Positions Primary hypothesis (H 1 ): Adolescents will be more likely to nominate members of their local positions as new friends than to nominate others in their school as new friends. Research questions –What are the effects of local positions on new friendship nominations among adolescents? –How large are the effects relative to standard homophily? How much of the effects can be attributed to dyadic components? –Overlap in coursetaking Represent preexisting preferences (Kossinets and Watts) –Mutual friends

19 Hypothesis for Status Difference Completion of transitivity and resisting cycles  hierarchy status difference Lisa,Ashley = transitivity completed–cycles completed. H 2 :The greater the potential to complete transitivity versus cycles the more likely one adolescent will nominate another as a friend. Model of directed, includes other triadic terms

20 Hypothesis for Status Difference Completion of transitivity and resisting cycles  hierarchy status difference Lisa,Ashley = transitivity completed–cycles completed. H 2 :The greater the potential to complete transitivity versus cycles the more likely one adolescent will nominate another as a friend. Model of directed, includes other triadic terms

21 Hypothesis: Local Positions Neutralize Status Differences H 3 : Any tendency to complete transitivity versus cycles will be reduced within local positions.. Embeddedness Granovetter(1985): local positions generate trust (reducing reliance on another’s judgment) and discourage malfeasance (reducing tendency to rebuff overtures),

22 Data: Add Health / AHAA Add Health data, nationally representative Longitudinal: control for prior behavior Original data in Frank et al (2008) Three Levels: –students (n=4,000) –within local positions (n=770) –within schools (n=78) Dependent Variable: existence of new friendship nomination between two adolescents at Time 2 (Wave II, reported spring 1996) –Counted if either nominated the other as a friend (but results apply for most other specifications); –Up to 10 friendship nominations (probably covers most friends – Moody 2001) Network: –Exposure through course taking (also have exposure through friends, but sample size reduced) –Local positions –Friendship nominations

23 Independent Variables Local Positions –identified by applying Field et al.’s adaptation of Frank’s algorithm to transcript data from 1995-1996, weighted for sizes of courses. See Frank et al., 2008. Homophily: –Same race (for whites, and for others (Zhen and Xie, 2008) –Same gender –Similarity of parental education level –Similarity of age –Similarity of GPA Structural constraint: formal –Similarity of grade level (Zhen and Xie, 2008) Structural constraint: informal –Number of mutual friendship links Shared activities –common sports played –Common academic activities –Common art clubs Pair-Level Course overlap –Number of courses shared, adjusting for size

24 Model of Friendship Formation (Non-directed)

25 Time-line Relating Academic Experiences to Friendship Nominations

26 Comments on Model Controlled for dependencies within dyad –Only one observation for each dyad: outcome is whether there was any nomination (demonstrated transaction costs overcome) –Most dyads are single nomination (300 reciprocated). Results primarily for unreciprocated ties Controlled for dependencies associated with each member with fixed effects –# friendships involving each adolescent Treated as categorical: dummy for each value: Quillian and Campbell. 2003 Comparable using alternating signed k-stars (Sinijders’ et al 2006) geometrically weighted degree count (GWDC). May only need mutual friends and race/gender homophily (Goodreau 2006) –Not interested in modeling at individual level Controlled for schools with fixed effects (dummy for each school) Controlled for prior friendship by selecting only those dyads for which there were no friendship nominations at Time 1 (Wave I or In-School in Add Health) Removed those who were members of same friendship clique (roughly size 3-4) at time 1 Subjects were in high school in the 94-95 and 95-96 school years (same as in Frank et al., 2008). Final n ~ 3,000. weighted –Product of the weights for each actor –Log of weights because they were skewed


28 Hypothesis 1

29 Interpretation of Results: Local Positions Odds of a friendship forming between members of the same local position are 1.77 greater than the odds of friendship forming between members of different local positions (controlling for other factors in the model). –Odds ratio was 2.5 without other controls in the model Coefficient for membership in the same local position was larger than the coefficients for –Same gender –Both adolescents being white –One standard deviation increase in most of the covariates. –Exceptions Same race (not white): oppositional culture grade level Local positions one of the strongest factors affecting the formation of new friendships among adolescents in the 10 th and 11 th grades. –Cuts across other bases of friendship


31 Generating the Ensemble Estimate Use SAS to write out commands, looping through each possible combination. Generate estimates in each case Save to file Combine by analyzing with HLM V-known.

32 Hypothesis 2 Hypothesis 3

33 State of the Art? yes Two mode cluster analysis with valued network data Add Health + AHAA (transcript) data Influence model (Frank et al., 2008) includes –Multiple sources of influence friends, coursemates, local position members, schools

34 State of the Art: No? Alternative Selection Model of Friendship Formation SIENA (Snijders: –Advantages simulation based Friendship formation + dissolution Includes influence (e.g., changes in coursetaking) –Concerns No case weights until very recently Difficult to run on full Add Health More complex model includes Exponential Random Graph Models (Robins et al., 2007) –Advantages Controls for dependencies among observations (dyads, triads and quatrads …_ –Concerns Multicollinearity, possible degenerate solutions Structural competes with substantive explanations I did control for these terms, with a time lag. What happens at a nomination? Do I know others? P2: Van Duijn –Advantages Random effects for degree distribution Markov chain Monte Carlo –Concerns Parametric assumption about degree distribution No case weights

35 Discussion: Emergence and Salience of Local Positions Dynamic interplay –Adolescents choose courses which determine emergent local positions within constraints of offerings –creates opportunities for friendships –The potential friends tie back to motivations for coursetaking – you take courses to comply with local position norm –Confluence of agency and constraint to create meso-level structures Reduce Transaction Costs –Within opportunities structured by the school –Contain others with similar interests –Provide opportunities for interaction –Shared transitions Reduce status differences –Status differences among triads are building blocks of status differences among groups –Status differences neutralized within local positions

36 Discussion: Systemic Implications Local Positions Local positions contain weak ties Beyond the range of the friendship circle. Convey new and salient information. bring outer circle of potential friends into the friendship circle (Call and Mortimer 2001; Cronsoe et al., forthcoming; Giordano 2003; Harter and Fischer 1999; Haynie 2001). Social capital emerges from school: –Not uniform –Or pressed in neat grade level sheets –but in local position clumps Implications for other forms of social organization in other institutions (e.g., work or religious). Also helps us understand the structural underpinnings of motivation to cultivate potential friends – –Especially for girls – girls good at using local positions to identify potential friends

37 Implications for Change Agents Schools create venues for friendship formation. Venues can be modified –Choose venues (courses and extracurriculars: Quiroz et al, 1997) –Direct participation (Moody 2001) Effects of previous institutions penetrate new friendships via local positions –Homophily –Prior segregation (Orfield) –Reducing immediate homophily may not eliminate trend based on previous tendency

38 Limitations Endogeneity of local positions? Friendships outside the school? Other forms of interaction –e.g., BookFace (sp intentional) School unique because it is well bounded

39 Conclusion Even given these limitations, our results point to the powerful role of the American high school in organizing the everyday life of its youth. While the social world of adolescence has often been cast as a domain of youth’s indiscretion where adult sensibilities are lacking, our results illustrate the tight linkage between academic and social opportunities structured by schools—in this case local positions that emerge through coursetaking commonalities—and the informal world adolescents must negotiate.

40 Extra Slides

41 Tangent: Salience of Local Positions Girls were more likely to advance in math the higher the current math levels of other girls in their local positions (Frank et al., 2008) Effect significantly different from that for boys Frank, K.A., Muller, C., Schiller, K., Riegle-Crumb, C., Strassman-Muller, A., Crosnoe, R., Pearson J. 2008. “The Social Dynamics of Mathematics CourseTaking in high school.” American Journal of Sociology, Vol 113 (6): 1645-1696.

42 Tangent: Hypothesized Mechanism: Influence of Potential Friends Members of the wide network of peers “…are more apt to encompass elements of distance and difference, in effect constituting a ‘tougher audience’ for the developing adolescent…Movement into such relations of contrast requires a developmental ‘stretch’ that is not as pronounced in the more comfortable world of close friendship” –(page 277 Giordano, Peggy C. 2003. "Relationships in Adolescence." Annual Review of Sociology 29: 257-81). Critique of Friendship Influence –Friends accept adolescents for who they are (Harter and Fischer 1999; Lightfoot 1997; Bearman and Bruckner 2001) –Adolescents more likely to select friends with similar interests than to be influenced by existing friends (Dornbusch 1989; Matsueda and Anderson 1998)

43 Tangent: Influence of Potential Friends ?

44 ?

45 ?

46 Identifying Potential Friends: Minimizing Transaction Costs Minimize Exposure/vulnerability when seeking friendship. –Leifer, E. M. 1988 Friendship by mutual negotiation 1) Formal structural constraints (Zhen and Xie, 2008; Kossinets and Watts, 2009) Difficult to initiate friendship if you do not have contact 2) Informal structural constraint: Micro friendship structure Friends of friends: broker introductions, enforce norms 3) Shared activities Sports, academics, arts Can retreat into the common shared activity if friendship overture fails 4) Course overlap structured opportunities to interact with others with shared interests applies to all students, whole school day

47 Baseline Hypotheses for Friendship Formation 1) 2) Structural constraint –The more similar the grade level of two adolescents the more likely a friendship will form between them. 2) Micro friendship structure –The more mutual friends two adolescents have, the more likely a friendship will form between them. 3) Shared activities –The more two adolescents participate in similar extracurricular activities, (e.g., sports) the more likely a friendship will form between them. 4) Course overlap –The more courses two adolescents share the more likely a friendship will form between them.

48 No Effect of Same Religion (coding from Chuck Stokes – Thanks!)




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