“Trivial” Topics and Rich Ties: The Relationship Between Discussion Topic, Alter Role, and Resource Availability Using the “Important Matters” Name Generator

Matthew E. Brashears

Sociological Science, November 10, 2014
DOI 10.15195/v1.a27

This paper uses a nationally representative dataset of discussion relationships to determine what Americans consider to be an important matter, whether some topics are predominantly discussed with certain types of associates, and if the topic of discussion or the role of the discussant predicts the availability of social support. Results indicate that some topics are pursued or avoided with particular types of alters, and that the role of the discussant, but not the topic of discussion, predicts the availability of support from our discussion partners. This implies that some differences in measured network structure may be due to variations in topics discussed, but that topic says little about the supportiveness of the tie once we are dealing with important matters discussants.
 Matthew E. Brashears: Cornell University  E-mail: meb299@cornell.edu

  • Citation: Brashears, Matthew E. 2014. “‘Trivial’ Topics and Rich Ties: The Relationship Between Discussion Topic, Alter Role, and Resource Availability Using the ‘Important Matters’ Name Generator.” Sociological Science 1: 493-511.
  • Received: June 30, 2014
  • Accepted: August 7, 2014
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen,  Delia Baldassarri
  • DOI: 10.15195/v1.a27

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