Type of residence and social participation: a comparative analysis

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

The present study seeks to determine what relationships, if any, exists between types of urban residential sub-areas and social participation patterns. The study concerns a comparison of residence in two contiguous suburban areas and the relationship between them and participation in voluntary associations, in neighboring activities, and in kin visitation. The two suburban types compared are residential areas of single family dwellings and mobile home courts located in the Roanoke Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area. One hundred and twenty households were interviewed, 62 mobile home court and 58 housing settlement households. Both a structured and an unstructured interview schedule were administered. The data from the structured schedule were machine processed. Statistical tests used are the point biserial and the Pearson product moment correlations. There are three categories of dependent variables, participation in voluntary associations, participation with neighbors, and kin participation. It is hypothesized that the suburban mobile home court households are less likely to affiliate and participate in social activities outside the nuclear family than are suburban single family dwelling settlement households. The suburban housing settlement households participated more in voluntary associations, however, they did not participate more in neighboring activities or in kin participation than did the suburban mobile home court households. Using the data from the structured and the unstructured interview schedules, two composite types of the two populations are constructed. In a descriptive sense, while the two populations reside in contiguous suburban residential areas, the populations are altogether two different types.