Date Thesis Awarded


Access Type

Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only

Degree Name

Bachelors of Science (BS)




Joanna Schug

Committee Members

Madelyn Labella

Tomoyuki Sasaki


Social psychologists have long established that humans require social relationships to satisfy our basic needs. However, the development of these relationships may vary across cultures depending on their social organization (i.e. individualism vs. collectivism) and their degree of relational mobility. The current study seeks to explore these cultural differences, paying close attention to the particular ways in which a person forms a new friendship. Following predetermined trends, we believe that individuals from individualistic countries with high relational mobility will form friendships based on similarity and self-serving factors, while their counterparts will form friendships based more on convenience factors. The sample population included 283 participants: 143 from India, and 140 from the United States. Data was collected through a survey that asked individuals to write a short description of how they made their most recent friend, as well as record several self-report measures. After, these qualitative responses were grouped into 11 categories and then coded for which they best corresponded with. Results revealed that relational mobility predicted being approached by others in both the US and Indian samples; however, it only predicted pursuing friendships based on self-group identity for the US sample. To add, there was a negative association between relational mobility and the self-report measures of ‘distinctiveness of the self,’ ‘self-expression,’ and ‘harmony seeking.’ Moreover, this study replicated the classic findings of research on interpersonal relationships in social psychology, as well as provided additional insight into how cultural differences may influence these findings.

Keywords: relational mobility; friendship formation; cross-cultural; interpersonal relationships; individualism; collectivism

On-Campus Access Only