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The theory and measurement of reciprocity.

Newland, John Robert; (1999) The theory and measurement of reciprocity. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Reciprocity has been used in the psychological literature as an explanatory concept in the formation and maintenance of social networks (Wellman, Carrington, and Hall, 1988). However, a review of the existing reciprocity literature found little consensus on the formal theory and definition of reciprocity. Definitions of reciprocity varied by study and used measures with inadequate psychometric properties. Older adults (50 years +) were participants in 49% of the studies reviewed. All the current studies reported used a predominantly student population. Using exploratory factor analysis (principal components, varimax rotation) a value based reciprocity measure with three factors (instrumentality, sociality and guidance) was developed. The scale comprised 132 items. There was a bias to placing higher values on the receipt of favours. Further development of the scale reduced the measure to 72 items. The receiving guidance factor was correlated with family members (r = .23; n = 98; p < .05); and the giving guidance factor with friends (r = .22; n = 98; < .05); and the giving guidance factor with friends (r = .22; n = 98; p < .05). In a further refinement of the reciprocity measure two scales (each of 15 items) were developed, Icount and Mecount (Cronbach's alpha = .97). Both scales were found to correlate significantly with social network size (r = .34; n = 64; p < .01). Significant correlations between the IPRI reciprocity scale (Tilden, Nelson, and May, 1990) and both Icount (r = .52; n = 93; p < .01) and Mecount (r = .44; n = 93; p < .01) support the construct validity of the new reciprocity measure. Different relationships with the index measures of social support were found as a junction of the calculation method (difference; ratio; multiplication). A distinction between enacted and perceived reciprocity was found similar to that reported in the social support literature (Newland and Furnham, 1999). A cognitive schema is proposed as a working model for future research in the area.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: The theory and measurement of reciprocity.
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10103341
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