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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Private social capital and the construction of mastery Martinez Ruiz, Barbara


Based on the data of the General Social Survey GSS cycle 17 (GSS 17) carried out in 2003, this study tests the relationship between private social capital and the perceived level of mastery. Private social capital has been defined as social networks composed of relatives, friends and neighbors and the type of communication and level of reciprocity they have with the individual. Mastery is a psychological learned trait that gives individuals a sense of control over the positive and negative outcomes of their lives. The notions of empowerment, self efficacy, leadership and initiative are associated with mastery and are considered as valuable resources, with positive impact in fields like health, well being and happiness, for the individuals. This study tests in particular four hypotheses that examine the relationship between private social capital and mastery. The four hypotheses propose the following: a) the larger the social network, the greater the mastery level b) the more frequent the contact, the greater the mastery level, c) the more favours received, the greater the mastery level and d) the more favours given, the higher the mastery level in the individual. The results indicate that frequency of contact, size of network, in particular network size of close members are significant and positively related to mastery; the numbers of favours given are all positively associated with mastery but no significant, finally favours received are not are significantly associated with mastery. This study suggests that increasing social interaction with our private social network of members than one’s feels close has a positive impact on the mastery level of individuals, despite the lack of reciprocity in the relationship.

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