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College of Humanities & Social Sciences

New book by Dr. Mary J. Gallant, Sociology & Anthropology

Date: January 27, 2014


Congratulations to Dr. Mary J. Gallant, Chair of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, for her new book Friendship Networks in Medical School.  This book explores the meanings of close ties in the high pressured context of a medical school program and why it is important to students. As the nature of social worlds shifts significantly during professional training, pre-med students can still think of friendship as a bond that continues to give them something permanent, sustaining and confirming. In a more critical vein this work examines the structure of close friendship networks in medical school as a force linking self goals to professional ones. It was one of the earliest studies to take Linton C. Freeman's (1977; 1979) indicator of total graph centrality to describing how changes in friendship structure influence orientations and commitments. Overall, increased relative centrality in medical students' networks was associated with change in values and orientations favoring inclusiveness, breadth of perspective, commitment to ethics and self confidence. This study belongs with sociological literature looking at the effects of informal bonds on the internalization of values important to attachment and identification processes in professional socialization. The research was first presented in 1985 as a PhD dissertation.