Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.Sc.)




Joanna Schug

Committee Member

Todd Thrash

Committee Member

Xiaowen Xu


Relational mobility, i.e., the degree to which individuals are afforded opportunities to voluntarily form and terminate relationships in a given society, is proposed in previous research to underlie many cultural differences in psychology. However, questions remain about how to best measure the construct of relational mobility, and whether to consider relational mobility as a construct existing on the environmental or individual level. In this study, we test the measurement invariance of one proposed alternate measure, the personal mobility scale across the United States (n = 1,698) and Japan (n = 2,224). We then compare correlations between personal mobility and individual difference variables to the correlations between relational mobility and these traits within the US and Japan. Finally, within both countries we model the number of new acquaintances that participants report meeting as a function of their individual-level relational mobility and personal mobility, and their state or prefecture’s average relational mobility using a series of multilevel negative binomial regressions. In Study 1a, we found the personal mobility scale to be partially invariant across the United States and Japan. In Study 1b we found support for our hypothesis that the personal mobility scale is more closely associated with individual differences (e.g., extraversion, self-esteem, and popularity) than is the relational mobility scale. We found in Study 1c that even when accounting for an individual’s personal mobility, the locality’s average relational mobility significantly predicts how many new acquaintances participants met, providing evidence that the relational mobility scale does quantify the socioecological construct of relational mobility. Taken together, the results of these three studies support the use of the relational mobility scale over the personal mobility scale to measure the socioecological construct of relational mobility.



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