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Values in adolescent friendship networks

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 September 2019

Martin Kindschi*
University of Zurich, Faculty of Business, Economics and Informatics, Institute of Business Administration, URPP Social Networks, Zurich, Canton Zurich, Switzerland (e-mail:
Jan Cieciuch
Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University in Warsaw, Faculty of Humanities, Institute of Psychology, Warsaw, Mazovia Province, Poland, and University of Zurich, Faculty of Business, Economics and Informatics, Institute of Business Administration, URPP Social Networks, Zurich, Canton Zurich, Switzerland (e-mail:
Eldad Davidov
University of Cologne, Faculty of Management, Economics and Social Sciences, Institute of Sociology and Social Psychology, Cologne, State North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, and University of Zurich, Department of Sociology, and URPP Social Networks, Zurich, Canton Zurich, Switzerland (e-mail:
Alexander Ehlert
University of Zurich, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Department of Sociology, Zurich, Canton Zurich, Switzerland (e-mails:;
Heiko Rauhut
University of Zurich, Faculty of Business, Economics and Informatics, Institute of Business Administration, URPP Social Networks, Zurich, Canton Zurich, Switzerland (e-mails:;
Claudio Juan Tessone
University of Zurich, Faculty of Business, Economics and Informatics, Institute of Business Administration, URPP Social Networks, Zurich, Canton Zurich, Switzerland (e-mails:;
René Algesheimer
University of Zurich, Faculty of Business, Economics and Informatics, Institute of Business Administration, URPP Social Networks, Zurich, Canton Zurich, Switzerland (e-mails:;
*Corresponding author. Email:


Values—the motivational goals that define what is important to us—guide our decisions and actions every day. Their importance is established in a long line of research investigating their universality across countries and their evolution from childhood to adulthood. In adolescence, value structures are subject to substantial change, as life becomes increasingly social. Value change has thus far been understood to operate independently within each person. However, being embedded in various social systems, adolescents are constantly subject to social influence from peers. Thus, we introduce a framework investigating the emergence and evolution of value priorities in the dynamic context of friendship networks. Drawing on stochastic actor-oriented network models, we analyze 73 friendship networks of adolescents. Regarding the evolution of values, we find that adolescents’ value systems evolve in a continuous cycle of internal validation through the selection and enactment of goals—thereby experiencing both congruence and conflicts—and external validation through social comparison among their friends. Regarding the evolution of friendship networks, we find that demographics are more salient for the initiation of new friendships, whereas values are more relevant for the maintenance of existing friendships.

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© Cambridge University Press 2019 

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