• Managing relationship decay: Network, gender and contextual effects.

      Roberts, Sam G. B.; Dunbar, Robin I. M.; University of Chester; University of Oxford (Springer, 2015-10-21)
      Relationships are central to human life strategies and have crucial fitness consequences. Yet, at the same time, they incur significant maintenance costs that are rarely considered in either social psychological or evolutionary studies. Although many social psychological studies have explored their dynamics, these studies have typically focused on a small number of emotionally intense ties, whereas social networks in fact consist of a large number of ties that serve a variety of different functions. In this study, we examined how entire active personal networks changed over 18 months across a major life transition. Family relationships and friendships differed strikingly in this respect. The decline in friendship quality was mitigated by increased effort invested in the relationship, but with a striking gender difference: relationship decline was prevented most by increased contact frequency (talking together) for females but by doing more activities together in the case of males.
    • The Six Dimensions of Personality (HEXACO) and their Associations with Network Layer Size and Emotional Closeness to Network Members

      Molho, Catherine; Roberts, Sam G. B.; de Vries, Reinout; Pollet, Thomas; VU Amsterdam, University of Chester, University of Twente (Elsevier, 2016-05-14)
      Previous work has examined how specific personality dimensions are associated with social network characteristics. However, it is unclear how the full range of personality traits relates to the quantity and quality of relationships at different network layers. This study (N = 525) investigates how the six HEXACO personality dimensions relate to the size of support and sympathy groups, and to the level of emotional closeness to network members. Extraversion was positively related to support group size, but did not significantly relate to sympathy group size or emotional closeness. Openness to Experience and Emotionality were positively related to support group size, but not to the size of the sympathy group. Honesty–Humility, but not Agreeableness, was positively related to emotional closeness to members of the sympathy group. Findings suggest that personality effects vary across network layers and highlight the importance of considering both emotional closeness and network size.