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A Relational View of Psychological Empowerment and Sense of Community in Academic Contexts: A Preliminary Study

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Departamento de Psicología Social, Facultad de Psicología, Universidad de Sevilla, 41018 Sevilla, Spain
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Research Group CAVIDA, Escuela de Ciencias Sociales y Humanas, Pontifical Bolivarian University, Montería, Córdoba, Colombia
Behav. Sci. 2019, 9(6), 65; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs9060065
Received: 23 April 2019 / Revised: 10 June 2019 / Accepted: 14 June 2019 / Published: 18 June 2019
Scholars need to pay attention to understand the factors that shape the interactions between individuals and social groups. Constructs like Psychological Sense of Community (PSoC) and Psychological Empowerment (PE) are powerful constructs used to evaluate the antecedents and the consequences of individual attachment to social settings. In parallel, recent advances in network analysis show that the position occupied within whole networks and ego-centric networks are relational factors that affect the subjective perception of membership to social groups. Studies that are conducted in organizational and community settings show strong associations between PSoC and PE. However, these connections have rarely been evaluated within natural settings such as the classroom context. On the other hand, although the theoretic basis of PSoC and PE claims that both processes are formed in a relational way, there are few studies that empirically evaluate the effects of social connectedness on the emergence of PSoC—referred to the classroom—and PE referred to academic-task development. The aim of this research is to determine the effects that the position occupied in formal and informal exchange networks induce on PSoC and PE dimensions. Sixty-four students enrolled in a master degree program (women = 68.8%, Mean age = 26.09, SD = 3.88) participated in this cross-sectional study. Multivariate analyses and network analyses were performed to test the hypotheses under study. The main research finding is that PSoC and PE are synergistic constructs that mutually shape to each other. In relational terms, by sending several nominations in informal networks, it is possible to generate notable impacts on some PSoC dimensions, while receipt of a wide number of nominations in formal contact networks is associated with high levels of PE. In addition, individuals who present high levels of PE are located in the core of formal exchange networks. These results are discussed in order to design actions to increase PSoC and PE in postgraduate academic settings. View Full-Text
Keywords: classroom; ego-centric networks; empowerment; sense of community; social network analysis; socio-centric networks; university students classroom; ego-centric networks; empowerment; sense of community; social network analysis; socio-centric networks; university students
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Ramos-Vidal, I. A Relational View of Psychological Empowerment and Sense of Community in Academic Contexts: A Preliminary Study. Behav. Sci. 2019, 9, 65.

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