Social Networks of Children, Adolescents, and College Students

By Suzanne Salzinger; John Antrobus et al. | Go to book overview

10
Social Networks and College Success, or Grade Point Average and the Friendly Connection

John S. Antrobus
Robert Dobbelaer
The City College of New York

Suzanne Salzinger
New York State Psychiatric Institute


INTRODUCTION

Although the influence of family, school, and community for good or evil has long been recognized, the precise processes by which these social environmental factors modify behavior have been only vaguely identified. Social network analysis as developed in anthropology and sociology, coupled with social ecological observations and social learning principles, goes a long way toward providing a theoretical framework that can be fruitfully utilized in investigations of a wide variety of social behaviors at quite different levels of behavioral specificity, as is demonstrated in this volume.

The notion that college friendships can provide social support for a student's persistence in college-related behavior is not a new one. Collegebased social clubs and athletic programs are examples of organizations designed to increase social interaction among students and thereby to enhance their sense of belonging to the college community. It is proposed here that college friendships provide a student with information that supports college achievement, and perhaps postcollege success, and that they also provide the reinforcement for many college-based achievement-oriented behaviors. College friends can provide information about how to successfully navigate the college environment as well as, on occasion, specific course-related information. Access to potential college friends, however, may be contingent upon the success of one's own academic performance. Thus it is further proposed that attainment of a place in a college-based social network will be associated

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