Changes in network composition and need satisfaction received from different network sectors during the first semester in university

Authors

  • Nuran Hortaçsu
  • Deniz Aydın

Abstract

The aim was to investigate changes in composition of students’ social networks and in satisfaction of various needs by different network sectors during the first semester in university. Questionnaires were distributed to 235 first year Turkish students attending Middle East Technical University (METU) at the beginning and end of the first semester. Eighty-eight students lived with and 147 lived away from parents. Network members were grouped into three categories: family members, friends who were students at the university, and friends who were not students at the university. The results were generally consistent with the premise that social networks change with changing contexts during life transitions. More within-university friends and fewer family members and outside-university friends
were cited as network members over time. Students living away from families added more new within-university friends to their networks and retained fewer outside-university friends than students living with families. Family members emerged as important providers of both affiliative and instrumental need satisfaction at the beginning of the semester but their importance declined over time. Affiliative need satisfaction obtained from both within- and outside-university friends declined and instrumental need satisfaction from outside- friends university increased over time. Females living with families cited more family members and outside-university friends than females living away from families. Females reported more need satisfaction from their families at the beginning and less need satisfaction from families at the end of the first semester when compared with males. In spite of these time
related changes, network stability was also evidenced.

Author Biographies

Nuran Hortaçsu, Middle East Technical University
Department of Psychology

Deniz Aydın, Middle East Technical University
Department of Psychology