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Titre du document / Document title

Social isolation in America : Changes in core discussion networks over two décades = Isolement social en Amérique : changements dans les réseaux de discussion dans les deux dernières décennies

Auteur(s) / Author(s)

MCPHERSON Miller (1 2) ; SMITH-LOVIN Lynn (2) ; BRASHEARS Matthew E. (1) ;

Affiliation(s) du ou des auteurs / Author(s) Affiliation(s)

(1) University of Arizona, ETATS-UNIS
(2) Duke University, ETATS-UNIS

Résumé / Abstract

Have the core discussion networks of Americans changed in the past two decades? In 1985, the General Social Survey (GSS) collected the first nationally representative data on the confidants with whom Americans discuss important matters. In the 2004 GSS the authors replicated those questions to assess social change in core network structures. Discussion networks are smaller in 2004 than in 1985. The number of people saying there is no one with whom they discuss important matters nearly tripled. The mean network size decreases by about a third (one confidant), from 2.94 in 1985 to 2.08 in 2004. The modal respondent now reports having no confidant; the modal respondent in 1985 had three confidants. Both kin and non-kin confidants were lost in the past two decades, but the greater decrease of non-kin ties leads to more confidant networks centered on spouses and parents, with fewer contacts through voluntary associations and neighborhoods. Most people have densely interconnected confidants similar to them. Some changes reflect the changing demographics of the U.S. population. Educational heterogeneity of social ties has decreased, racial heterogeneity has increased. The data may overestimate the number of social isolates, but these shrinking networks reflect an important social change in America.

Revue / Journal Title

American sociological review    ISSN  0003-1224 

Source / Source

2006, vol. 71, no3, pp. 353-375 [23 page(s) (article)] (1 p.1/4)

Langue / Language


Editeur / Publisher

Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, CA, ETATS-UNIS  (1936) (Revue)

Mots-clés anglais / English Keywords

Social link


Demographic change


Social Change


United States Of America


Discussion Group




Mots-clés français / French Keywords

Lien social


Changement démographique


Changement social




Groupe de discussion




Localisation / Location

INIST-CNRS, Cote INIST : 22326, 35400013882999.0010

Nº notice refdoc (ud4) : 17941123

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