Scientific article
Open access

Modelling ambivalent triads in family research

Published inSocial Science Research, vol. 98, no. 102577
Publication date2021

This research focuses on ambivalence in family networks and presents a framework for investigating how triadic configurations, beyond specific dyads, may affect individual outcomes such as well-being. First, the paper introduces the ambivalent triad census, counting the frequencies of 18 non-isomorphic triads in which ties can be positive, negative, or ambivalent, in non-directed networks, and proposes the linear combinations of three theoretical mechanisms (ambivalent balance, diffusion of stress, divide and conquer) predicting how embeddedness in an ambivalent triad may affect individual well-being. Second, the ambivalent triad census is applied to 300 non-directed family networks, 150 stepfamilies and 150 first-time families, in which mothers reported about the relationships with and between family members. Results show that mothers embedded in triads exhibiting more ambivalent balance and less diffusion of stress score higher on social self-esteem. The study emphasizes the importance of studying ambivalence in higher-level relational structures, such as triads, in families.

  • Family networks
  • Valence
  • Ambivalence
  • Triad census
  • Signed graphs
  • Well-being
Research group
  • Autre - This publication is part of the project “The co-evolution of well-being and the kinship network after parental divorce” (with project number 406-15-191) of the research programme Research Talent which is (partly) financed by the Dutch Research Council (NWO).
  • Swiss National Science Foundation - This work is supported by the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research LIVES - Overcoming Vulnerability: Life Course Perspectives - financed by the Swiss National Foundation.
Citation (ISO format)
DE BEL, Vera, SNIJDERS, Tom A.B., WIDMER, Eric. Modelling ambivalent triads in family research. In: Social Science Research, 2021, vol. 98, n° 102577. doi: 10.1016/j.ssresearch.2021.102577
Main files (1)
Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal0049-089X

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