Eric D. Widmer

Widmer, E.D. (2006). Who are my family members? Bridging and binding social capital in family configurations. Journal of Personal and Social Relationships, vol. 23, n° 6, pp. 979-998.

This study tests the hypothesis that individuals’ identi?cation of family members has an impact on the type of family-based social capital available to them. Data from a sample of college students from three universities in Switzerland (N = 229), provided evidence that seven typical family con?gurations coexist. These con?gurations vary with respect to the importance given to partnerships, friendships, stepparents and parents’ relatives. Family con?gurations based on blood connections provide a ‘binding’ type of social capital, that is, densely connected family networks with low individual centrality, whereas family con?gurations based on friendship provide a ‘bridging’ type of social capital, that is, sparsely connected family networks with high individual centrality.Postdivorce family con?gurations are associated with neither type of social capital.
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