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The Measurement of Reciprocity in Ego-Centered Networks of Personal Relationships: A Comparison of Various Indices

Theo Van Tilburg, Eric Van Sonderen and Johan Ormel
Social Psychology Quarterly
Vol. 54, No. 1 (Mar., 1991), pp. 54-66
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2786788
Page Count: 13
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The Measurement of Reciprocity in Ego-Centered Networks of Personal Relationships: A Comparison of Various Indices
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Abstract

This article deals with the reciprocity of social support in personal relationships and with its connection to well-being, particularly loneliness. After reviewing briefly the concept of reciprocity, we develop four methods for constructing indices of the reciprocity of social support based on data on ego-centered networks of personal relationships. The four indices showed that on the average, the respondents' relationship networks were strongly reciprocal. The results did not make it unequivocally clear whether overvenefiting (versus underbenefiting) and loneliness were linked via a U-shaped association, as suggested by the literature, or via a linear or inverse U-shaped association. The use of more specific indices is recommended for a more extensive investigation of the association between reciprocity and loneliness.

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