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Being and feeling liked by others: How social inclusion impacts health

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This study examined the effects of perceived and actual social inclusion on health across and within individuals from a network perspective. During the first semester, 75 freshmen students provided bi-weekly ratings on their perceived social inclusion and health. To capture actual social inclusion, each student nominated liked and disliked fellow students. Perceived social inclusion mediated the effect of actual social inclusion on health. Specifically, students with more ‘likes’ perceived more social inclusion and those with higher perceived inclusion reported a better health status (between-person effect). In addition, at time points, when students received more ‘likes’ they also perceived more social inclusion. They reported better health at times when they felt more included (within-person effect). Thus, the perception of social inclusion is rooted in reality and actual social inclusion has an impact on health when passing the filter of perception.
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Keywords: between- and within-person effects; perceived and actual social inclusion; self-rated health; social network; social relations

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Psychology, Psychological Assessment & Health Psychology, University of Konstanz, Konstanz, Germany

Publication date: September 2, 2015

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