When friendship formation goes down the toilet: design features of shared accommodation influence interpersonal bonds and well-being

Easterbrook, Matthew J and Vignoles, Vivian L (2015) When friendship formation goes down the toilet: design features of shared accommodation influence interpersonal bonds and well-being. British Journal of Social Psychology, 54 (1). pp. 125-139. ISSN 0144-6665

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Abstract

Despite its omnipresence, the influence of the built environment on human psychology is
not well understood. In a five-wave longitudinal study, we investigated whether physical
design features within shared student accommodation predicted the frequency of
coincidental meetings between new flatmates, and whether these meetings predicted the
strength of their interpersonal bonds and psychological well-being. Multilevel latent
growth modelling on responses from 462 new university residents supported our
hypotheses: Respondents living in flats with design features that encouraged the use of
communal areas – a shared common area and an absence of ensuite toilets – reported
unintentionally meeting their flatmates more frequently within their flats. This in turn
predicted the initial strength of their interpersonal bonds with their flatmates, which in
turn positively predicted their well-being. These effects were maintained throughout the
10-week study. Our findings provide an empirical basis for the development of shared
housing designed to foster positive relationships and well-being among residents.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology > HM1001 Social psychology
Depositing User: Matthew Easterbrook
Date Deposited: 02 Jul 2014 13:03
Last Modified: 07 Mar 2017 03:42
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/49188

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