Structure and sentiment: Explaining emotional attachment to group


Journal Article

Previous research suggests that network structure affects emotional attachment to groups, though few have identified this link in naturally occurring groups. Taking a conception of emotional attachment from the social identity tradition and a measure of attachment from Bollen and Hoyle, we test for the relationship between network structure and emotional attachment in a southern sorority. We find that centrality in the friendship network increases emotional attachment to the group. Members of subgroups that are internally connected and also have cross-cutting ties throughout the sorority show higher emotional attachment to the group as a whole. This suggests that relational reinforcement is important for emotional attachment, but that overall attachment declines when subgroup relationships override connections to the remainder of the network. We also find that three dimensions of positive social participation increase attachment but that stressful and adversarial participation decreases attachment.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Paxton, P; Moody, J

Published Date

  • January 1, 2003

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 66 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 34 - 47

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0190-2725

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.2307/3090139

Citation Source

  • Scopus