Original Article

Journal of Geographical Systems

, Volume 14, Issue 2, pp 125-141

First online:

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

A multilevel path analysis of contact frequency between social network members

  • Pauline van den BergAffiliated withEindhoven University of Technology Email author 
  • , Theo ArentzeAffiliated withEindhoven University of Technology
  • , Harry TimmermansAffiliated withEindhoven University of Technology


Recently, there has been an increasing interest in the role of social networks in spatial-choice and travel behavior. It has been acknowledged that social activities and the travel for these activities can emerge from individuals’ social networks and that social activities are responsible for an important portion of travel demand. The influence of information and communication technologies (ICT’s) is also important in this respect. The purpose of the paper is to examine the effects of characteristics of egos and ego-alter relationships on the frequency of social interaction by different communication modes, using multilevel path analysis. The analyses are based on social network data collected in 2008 in the Eindhoven region in the Netherlands among 116 respondents. The results indicate a complementary relationship between contact frequencies by different modes. The contact frequencies of the different modes, especially face-to-face and telephone, can also be largely explained by the ego’s personal characteristics and the type of relationship and the distance between ego and alter.


Social networks Communication technology Contact frequency Multilevel path analysis

JEL Classification

C38 Z19 R41