Social Network Index (SNI)

Background:

The Social Network Index (SNI) assesses participation in 12 types of social relationships. These include relationships with a spouse, parents, parents-in-law, children, other close family members, close neighbours, friends, workmates, schoolmates, fellow volunteers, members of groups without religious affiliation, and religious groups. One point is assigned for each type of relationship (possible score of 12) for which respondents indicate that they speak (in person or on the phone) to persons in that relationship at least once every two weeks.

Psychometrics:

For full psychometric description see: Cohen, S., Doyle, W. J., Skoner, D. P., Rabin, B. S., and Gwaltney, J. M., Jr. (1997). Social ties and susceptibility to the common cold. Journal of the American Medical Association, 277, 1940-1944.Journal of the American Medical Association, 277, 1940-1944.

Author of Tool:

Cohen, S.

Key references:

Cohen, S., Doyle, W. J., Skoner, D. P., Rabin, B. S., and Gwaltney, J. M., Jr. (1997). Social ties and susceptibility to the common cold. Journal of the American Medical Association, 277, 1940-1944. Journal of the American Medical Association, 277, 1940-1944. 

Bickart, K. C., et al (2011). Amygdala volume and social network size in humans. Nature Neuroscience, 14, 163-164. 

(2.) Bickart, K. C., et al (2012). Intrinsic amygdala–cortical functional connectivity predicts social network size in humans. Journal of Neuroscience, 32, 14729-14741.

Primary use / Purpose:

Assesses participation in 12 types of social relationships.

Social Network Index

 

Instructions: This questionnaire is concerned with how many people you see or talk to on a regular basis including family, friends, workmates, neighbors, etc. Please read and answer each question carefully. Answer follow-up questions where appropriate.

 

  1. Which of the following best describes your marital status?

         (1) currently married & living together, or living with someone in marital-like relationship

         (2) never married & never lived with someone in a marital-like relationship

         (3) separated

         (4) divorced or formerly lived with someone in a marital-like relationship

         (5) widowed

  1. How many children do you have? (If you don't have any children, check '0' and skip to question 3.)

        0            1             2             3             4             5             6            7 or more

2a. How many of your children do you see or talk to on the phone at least once every 2 weeks?

        0            1             2             3             4             5             6            7 or more

  1. Are either of your parents living? (If neither is living, check '0' and skip to question )

         (0) neither                  (1) mother only                   (2) father only                 (3) both

3a. Do you see or talk on the phone to either of your parents at least once every 2 weeks?

         (0) neither           _      (1) mother only                   (2) father only                 (3) both

  1. Are either of your in-laws (or partner's parents) living? (If you have none, check the appropriate space and skip to question 5.)

         (0) neither           (1) mother               (2) father             (3) both         _ (4) not

only                         only                                               applicable

4a. Do you see or talk on the phone to either of your partner's parents at least once every 2 weeks?

           (0) neither                 (1) mother                 (2) father          _      (3) both

only                            only

  1. How many other relatives (other than your spouse, parents & children) do you feel close to? (If '0', check that space and skip to question 6.)

        0            1             2             3             4             5             6            7 or more

5a. How many of these relatives do you see or talk to on the phone at least once every 2 weeks?

        0            1             2             3             4             5             6            7 or more

  1. How many close friends do you have? (meaning people that you feel at ease with, can talk to about private matters, and can call on for help)

        0            1             2             3             4             5             6            7 or more

6a. How many of these friends do you see or talk to at least once every 2 weeks?

        0            1             2             3             4             5             6            7 or more

  1. Do you belong to a church, temple, or other religious group? (If not, check 'no' and skip to question )

           no                    yes

7a. How many members of your church or religious group do you talk to

at least once every 2 weeks? (This includes at group meetings and services.)

        0            1             2             3             4             5             6            7 or more

  1. Do you attend any classes (school, university, technical training, or adult education) on a regular basis? (If not, check 'no' and skip to question 9.)

           no                    yes

8a. How many fellow students or teachers do you talk to at least once every 2 weeks? (This includes at class meetings.)

        0            1             2             3             4             5             6            7 or more

  1. Are you currently employed either full or part-time? (If not, check 'no' and skip to question 10.)

         (0) no               _ (1) yes, self-employed                      (2) yes, employed by others

9a. How many people do you supervise?

        0            1             2             3             4             5             6            7 or more

9b. How many people at work (other than those you supervise) do you talk to at least once every 2 weeks?

        0            1             2             3             4             5             6            7 or more

 

  1. How many of your neighbors do you visit or talk to at least once every 2 weeks?

          0            1             2             3             4             5             6            7 or more

  1. Are you currently involved in regular volunteer work? (If not, check 'no' and skip to question 12.)

           no                    yes

11a. How many people involved in this volunteer work do you talk to about volunteering-related issues at least once every 2 weeks?

        0            1             2             3             4             5             6            7 or more

  1. Do you belong to any groups in which you talk to one or more members of the group about group-related issues at least once every 2 weeks? Examples include social clubs, recreational groups, trade unions, commercial groups, professional organizations, groups concerned with children like the PTA or Boy Scouts, groups concerned with community service, etc. (If you don't belong to any such groups, check 'no' and skip the section )

           no                                      yes

Consider those groups in which you talk to a fellow group member at least once every 2 weeks. Please provide the following information for each such group: the name or type of group and the total number of members in that group that you talk to at least once every 2 weeks.

 

Total number of group members

Group that you talk to at least once every 2 weeks

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

Scoring the Social Network Index

MEASURES

  • Number of high-contact roles (network diversity)
  • Number of people in social network
  • Number of embedded networks

 

Number of High-Contact Roles (Network Diversity)

Definition: This is the number of social roles in which the respondent has regular contact (i.e., at least once every 2 weeks) with at least one person. The maximum number of high-contact roles is 12. They are: spouse, parent, child, child-in-law, close relative, close friend, church/temple member, student, employee, neighbor, volunteer, and group member. [It would also be possible to count each group a person belongs to (question 12) as a separate social role, however we have not done this in our previous work.]

Computation: For each of the 12 possible high-contact roles, assign a 0 if the respondent does not have the role and a 1 if he/she does. The total number of high-contact roles is computed by summing the 0s and 1s. The table below shows which scale items are used in the computation and how each is scored.

  • Role Item # Scores 1 if response is … spouse 1 1
  • parent 2a not 0 child 3a not 0
  • child-in-law 4a not 0 close relative 5a not 0 close friend 6a not 0
  • church/temple member 7a not 0 student 8a not 0
  • employee 9a & 9b not 0 for both items neighbor 10 not 0
  • volunteer 11a not 0
  • group member 12 not 0 for # of group members talked to every 2 weeks

 

Number of People in Social Network

Definition: This is the total number of people with whom the respondent has regular contact (i.e., at least once every 2 weeks).

Computation: For each of the 12 possible roles, determine the number of people with whom the respondent has regular contact. The total number of people in the social network is computed by summing across the 12 roles. The table below shows which scale items are used in the computation and how each is scored.

  • Role Item # Scoring
  • spouse 1 scores 1 if respondent is married, otherwise scores 0 parent 2a use the number indicated
  • child 3a 1,2=1; 3=2
  • child-in-law 4a 1,2=1; 3=2

close relative 5a use the number indicated close friend 6a use the number indicated church/temple member 7a use the number indicated student 8a use the number indicated employee 9a & 9b sum of 9a & 9b neighbor 10 use the number indicated volunteer 11a use the number indicated group member 12 sum of number of group members talked to at least once every 2 weeks

Number of Embedded Networks

Definition: This measure is meant to reflect the number of different network domains in which a respondent is active. The maximum possible is 8. They are: family, friends, church/temple, school, work, neighbors, volunteering, and groups. To receive a point for a domain, a respondent must have at least 4 high-contact people within that domain. The 5 family roles are collapsed into one network for this measure. To receive a point for family, they are required to have at least 3 high-contact family roles as well as 4 high-contact people. Computation: If the subject meets the criteria for an embedded network, assign a score of 1 for that network, otherwise assign a 0. The total number of embedded networks is computed by summing the 0s and 1s. The table below shows the criteria used for each embedded network.

Embedded Network Scores

  • 1 if S has at least 4 high-contact… Questionnaire Item(s)
  • family
  • family members and at least 3 high-contact family roles
  • 1, 2a, 3a, 4a, 5a friends friends 6a
  • church/ temple church/temple members 7a school students/teachers 8a
  • work work associates 9a and 9b neighbors neighbors 10 volunteering fellow volunteers 11a groups group members 12