Social network development has been studied in the social sciences for the last several decades, but little work has applied social network theory to study-abroad research. This study seeks to quantitatively describe factors that predict social network formation among study-abroad students while in the host countries. Social networks were measured in terms of the number of friends the students made, the number of distinct social groups reported, and the number of friends within those groups. The Study Abroad Social Interaction Questionnaire was compared against these pre-trip factors: intercultural competence, target-language proficiency, prior missionary experience, gender, study-abroad program, neuroticism, extroversion, agreeableness, openness to new experience, agreeableness, and conscientiousness. Results showed that pre-trip oral proficiency in the target language was the strongest predictor of the number of friends made in-country. Certain programs showed stronger predictive statistics in terms of size of largest social group, number of social groups, and number of friends made. A distinction is made between total number of friends and number of friends who are more likely to be native speakers. Neither intercultural competence nor personality showed a significant correlation with the number of friendships made during study abroad.
College and Department
Humanities; Spanish and Portuguese
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Brockbank, J Wyatt, "Better Speakers Make More Friends: Predictors of Social Network Development Among Study-Abroad Students" (2011). Theses and Dissertations. 2686.
study abroad, social networks, predictors, dispersion, density, egocentric, social network analysis, study abroad social interaction questionnaire, SASIQ, OPI, IDI, NEO-FFI, BYU, China, Egypt, France, Mexico, Russia, Spain, Chinese, Arabic, French, Spanish, Russian, intercultural competency, intercultural sensitivity, social interaction, personality, language proficiency, neuroticism, extroversion, openness to new experience, agreeableness, conscientiousness, target language, second language, gender, returned missionary, missionaries, language use, correlation, regression