Being in the Know : Social Network Analysis of Gossip and Friendship on a College Campus.
Gossip (evaluative talk about others) is ubiquitous. Gossip allows important rules to be clarified and reinforced, and it allows individuals to keep track of their social networks while strengthening their bonds to the group. The purpose of this study is to decipher the nature of gossip and how it relates to friendship connections. To measure how gossip relates to friendship, participants from men's and women's collegiate competitive rowing (crew) teams (N = 44) noted their friendship connections and their tendencies to gossip about each of their teammates. Using social network analysis, we found that the crew members' friend group connectedness significantly correlated with their positive and negative gossip network involvement. Higher connectedness among friends was associated with less involvement in spreading negative gossip and/or being a target of negative gossip. More central connectedness to the friend group was associated with more involvement in spreading positive gossip and/or being a target of positive gossip. These results suggest that the spread of both positive and negative gossip may influence and be influenced by friendship connections in a social network.
Yucel, M; Sjobeck, GR; Glass, R; Rottman, J
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