Triad Social Group: Definition & Examples

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  • 0:02 Definition of a Triad…
  • 1:37 Triads and Transitivity
  • 2:25 Problems Within a Triad
  • 2:47 Examples
  • 3:14 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Yolanda Williams

Yolanda has taught college Psychology and Ethics, and has a doctorate of philosophy in counselor education and supervision.

A triad social group is a social group that consists of three members. Learn more about triad social groups from examples and test your knowledge with a quiz.

Definition of a Triad Social Group

A triad is a social group that is made up of three people. This differs from a dyad, which is a social group that is made up of only two people. Triads allow for the social group to keep going even if one person leaves, unlike dyads. Triad relationships are also less intimate and intense when compared to dyad relationships. Triads are usually more stable than a dyad; triads are less likely to break up. This stability is due to the fact that there is a third member that can serve as a mediator in instances where conflict arises between the two other members.

Suppose that Susie, Jill, and Donna are three high school friends. Susie and Donna have been neighbors since the third grade and are really close. However, Donna and Jill's families have been going on summer vacations with each other for the past five years. During this time, Donna and Jill became close. Susie and Jill are not very close. Without Donna, the two would have not become friends. Nevertheless, the triad is formed. Let's say that Susie and Jill both decide that they want to pursue the same boy. Donna may serve as a mediator and help Susie and Jill find a way to solve the issue without breaking up the triad.

Suppose that Jill, Susie, and Donna want to go to see a movie. Jill and Donna want to go see a romantic comedy, but Susie would rather see an action movie. In this situation, it is possible for one member of the triad to be outvoted by the other two members. The triad might resolve this conflict by taking a vote, which would result in the triad going to see the romantic comedy.

Triads and Transitivity

Suppose there is a triad made up of three college freshmen named Mike, Sarah, and Jim. Transitivity exists in this triad if there is a tie from Mike to Sarah and Sarah to Jim, then there is a tie from Mike to Jim. If there is a tie from Mike to Sarah and Sarah to Jim, but there is not a tie from Mike to Jim, then the triad is said to be intransitive.

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