Avoidance in negative ties: Inhibiting closure, reciprocity, and homophily

Nicholas Harrigan*, Janice Yap

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


Theorising of negative ties has focused on simplex negative tie networks or multiplex signed tie networks. We examine the fundamental differences between positive and negative tie networks measured on the same set of actors. We test six mechanisms of tie formation on face-to-face positive (affect/esteem) and negative (dislike/disesteem) networks of 282 university students. While popularity, activity, and entrainment are present in both networks, closure, reciprocity, and homophily are largely absent from negative tie networks. We argue this arises because avoidance is inherent to negative sentiments. Avoidance reduces information transfer through negative ties and short-circuits cumulative causation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)126-141
Number of pages16
JournalSocial Networks
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Closure
  • Homophily
  • Negative ties
  • Reciprocity
  • Signed ties
  • Social networks


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