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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The effects of social environments on solitary behavior Meis, Scott Maxam


Two contradictory social psychological models of human sociability exist in the social science literature: a steady state model, and a homeostatic model. In this thesis a model of possible environmental effects on individual solitary behavior is developed to test these underlying social psychological models. These models are tested in a secondary analysis of activity log data of a sample of industrial workers. The results indicate that two causal processes interact in producing differences in the amounts of time people spend alone. In one process, temporal constraints on the number of persons and the amount of time available for non-work social interactions facilitate solitary behavior on workdays. These direct effects carry over into the weekend when the constraints of work hours are not directly present. In the other process people compensate for extremes in their social experience at work by participating more in discretionary solitary activities. When combined, these two isolating processes produce an even stronger interaction effect. These observations support the homeostatic model of human sociability. Suggestions are then made for a more sophisticated future testing of these models.

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