Health, Grades and Friendship: How Socially Constructed Characteristics Influence the Social Network Structure
Homophily - tendency for people to form social connections with similar others - is one of the key topics in social network analysis. It indicates to what extent people tend to be similar to their friends and in what dimensions. For the long time homophily was just an index of the social similarity, but for the recent years the interest for the homophily formation, dynamics and multidimensionality increased. In this paper we investigate the homophily in such social constructed behavior as food consumption and academic achievements. The study of body mass index in social network context reveals the presence of homophily, which means that persons with similar constitution are more likely to be interconnected with each other. Interestingly, that healthy food consumption has no impact on social network formation, but there is homophily based on fast food consumption. Thus, ‘bad habits’ are stronger forces for the social ties formation. This results show that social constructed behavior is an important component on the process of social network formation.
KeywordsSocial networks Homophily Student networks Health Food consumption Academic achievements Higher education
We would like to thank Maria Yudkevich for help and discussion. The financial support of the 5-100 Government Program and Basic Research Program at the National Research University Higher School of Economics (HSE) is greatly appreciated.
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