Structural Cohesion, Role Equivalence, or Homophily: Which Process Best Explains Social Homogeneity?

Ignacio Ramos-Vidal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle in an indexed scientific journalpeer-review


Social homogeneity, understood as the similarity of perceptions and attitudes that individuals display toward the environment around them, is explained by the relational context in which they are immersed. However, there is no consensus about which relational mechanism best explains social homogeneity. The purpose of this research is to find out which of the three classical relational processes most studied in network analysis (structural cohesion, role equivalence, or homophily) is more determinant in explaining social homogeneity. To achieve the research objective, 110 professionals (psychologists, social workers, and community facilitators) implementing a psychosocial care program in three regions of Northwest Colombia were interviewed. Different types of relationships among professionals were analyzed using network analysis techniques. To examine the structural cohesion hypothesis, interveners were categorized according to the level of structural cohesion by performing core-periphery analysis in the networks evaluated; to test the role equivalence hypothesis, participants were categorized according to their level of degree centrality in the networks examined; to test the homophily hypothesis, participants were grouped according to the level of homophily in terms of professional profile. The non-parametric tests showed that role equivalence was the most powerful mechanism for explaining social homogeneity in the sample of psychosocial interveners evaluated.

Original languageEnglish
Article number14471
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number21
StatePublished - Nov 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the author.


  • heterophily
  • homophily
  • psychosocial intervention
  • role equivalence
  • sense of community
  • social homogeneity
  • social network analysis
  • structural cohesion


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