Friendly Relationships and Relationships of Assistance at a University

  • Diliara Valeeva HSE University
  • Oleg Poldin HSE University
  • Maria Yudkevich HSE University
Keywords: social networks, riendship networks, assistance networks, students, co-edu­cation, popularity, social influence


Diliara Valeeva - Research Assistant, International Laboratory for Institutional Analysis of Economic Reforms, National Research University Higher School of Economics. Address: 24 Myasnitskaya str., Moscow, 101000, Russian Federation. E-mail:

Oleg Poldin - Research Fellow, International Laboratory for Institutional Analysis of Economic Reforms, National Research University Higher School of Economics. Address: 25/12 Bolshaya Pecherskaya str., Nizhny Novgorod, 603155, Russian Federation. E-mail:

Maria Yudkevich - Vice Rector, Director Center for Institutional Studies, National Research University Higher School of Economics. Address: 11 Pokrovskiy blv., Moscow, 109028, Russian Federation. E-mail:

The authors explore characteristics of social relationships (friendly relation­ships and relationships of assistance while studying) between students of the school of economics of one of Russian universities. Within this study fellow students with whom a certain student spends most of his or her time were considered to be his or her friends. An assistant at university is a fellow student whom students ask for help in their studies most of all. Data on a structure of relationships in student groups were collected by means of a questionnaire. In order to analyze a distinction between friendship networks and assistance networks at university, an exponential random graph modeling (ERGM) method was used. The authors show that both networks are characterized by reciprocity of relationships and that in both networks relationships have a tendency to form triads. Probability of a relationship between students depends to a great extent on their belonging to one training group and one sex. Students ask for help and are on friendly terms with those fellow students who have academic achievements of the same level as they do. Academically successful students are popular in the assistance network but not in the friendship network. The received results are analyzed in terms of their meaning for co-education effects. Characteristics of reciprocity of relationships, as well as of their isolation in triads, are important for interpreting the ways the co-education effects can distribute. It looks like the greatest influence on a certain student’s achievements his reciprocal friends and assistants can have, and also his immediate environment density. Students studying on a commercial basis are more likely to form friendship networks, while students studying in state-funded places are more likely to form assistance networks. Students of different modes of study seem to build their social relationships in different ways, and so influence of peers on students of different modes of study is different. The authors arrive at a conclusion that in the analysis of co-education effects it is neces­sary to take into consideration a role different relationships play in distributing these effects, as well as internal features of networks according to which social relationships are built, and also mechanisms of gaining popularity and influence among students.


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How to Cite
Valeeva, Diliara, Oleg Poldin, and Maria Yudkevich. 2014. “Friendly Relationships and Relationships of Assistance at a University”. Voprosy Obrazovaniya / Educational Studies Moscow, no. 4 (February), 70-84.
Theoretical and Applied Research

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