Person-Environment Psychology and Mental Health: Assessment and Intervention

By William E. Martin Jr.; Jody L. Swartz-Kulstad | Go to book overview

Researchers who wish to study complex social phenomena involving multiple relations or longitudinal network data may need to collaborate directly with more quantitatively oriented psychologists or sociologists. In turn, P-E researchers might also offer their assistance, applied researchers are likely to be among the first to discover the gaps in existing procedures and techniques ( Wasserman & Faust, 1994).

In sum, it would seem that P-E psychologists have much to gain from social network analysis. SNA methods offer not only a way to go beyond the dyad ( Kanfer & Tanaka, 1993; Wasserman & Faust, 1994), but also to look at the reciprocal interactions that take place between two or more actors in a formal or informal social system. Given the sophistication of SNA models, individual differences variables, like gender, ethnicity, age, or diagnosis, can be included in the analyses as explanatory factors ( Wasserman & Faust, 1994), resulting in a much more complete representation of individuals' behavior in context. The underlying assumptions of SNA methods parallel Kelley's (et al., 1983) notion of interpersonal process and, hence, are likely to seem immediately familiar to P-E psychology practitioners and researchers. P-E psychologists have long recognized the reciprocal relationships between environments and environmental inhabitants. Despite this, the environment has long been excluded from active examination. With the introduction of SNA methods P-E psychologists may have an elegant means to study individuals" interactions as they take place naturally, within their "personal communities" ( Fischer, 1982).


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

We thank Kari Kempf, William E. Martin, Jr., and Jody L. Swartz for their helpful comments on the manuscript. The characters depicted in this manuscript are purely fictitious and any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental.


REFERENCES

Alexander C. N. ( 1963). "A method for processing sociometric data". Sociometry, 26,268-269.

Anderson C. J., & Wasserman S. ( 1995). "Log multiplicative models for valued social relations". Sociological Methods & Research, 24,96-127.

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