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Do People Who Identify as Popular Become Popular in a New Network? A 9-Month Longitudinal Network Analysis


Although scholars have argued that people actively shape and reshape their social networks (e.g., Parks, 2016), this aspect of relational development has received little attention. This study sought to determine if people’s self-perceptions of interpersonal communication skills translated into behavior that led to relationship formation in a new network. A 9-month longitudinal social network analysis (N = 94) of the residents of a first-year university residence hall using Facebook tie data was conducted to assess network changes. Results indicate that both self-perceived network centrality in a hypothetical friendship sociogram (Smith & Fink, 2015) and self-reported connector scores (Boster et al., 2011) are good longitudinal predictors of relationship development. Those who began by self-identifying as central, became central.

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