Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)




Joanna Schug

Committee Member

John Nezlek

Committee Member

Cheryl Dickter


Previous research has indicated that in cultures and social environments where individuals are presented with many opportunities to form new relationships (i.e., environments high in relational mobility), individuals tend to form relationships with others like themselves. This tendency can be caused by two different mechanisms: First, the tendency of people to form relationships with similar others may be caused by the similarity-attraction effect, whereby individuals prefer to interact with people like themselves. High relational mobility therefore increases opportunities for individuals to maximize their preference for similar others. However, increased similarity between relationship partners can also be caused by assortment effects, whereby people who possess desirable characteristics form relationships with other desirable individuals, leaving those with less desirable characteristics to form relationships with less desirable partners. This thesis examined how relational mobility might influence the well-being of individuals who may be considered less desirable to others. Two exploratory studies examined the relation between attributes associated with lower social attractiveness on psychological well being, and how this relation changed as a function of relational mobility. The first study examined the impact of relational mobility on depression among American undergraduates with higher or lower amounts of social skills, and the second study examined the well being of individuals as a function of their social skills and disability statues. Overall, the results of both studies suggest that individuals who possess characteristics associated with lower social attractiveness (having a disability, or having lower social skills) tended to have higher levels of psychological well being when they perceived relational mobility to be high.




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