Popularity and adolescent friendship networks: Selection and influence dynamics
SourceDevelopmental Psychology, 49, 7, (2013), pp. 1242-1252
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ BSI ON
This study examined the dynamics of popularity in adolescent friendship networks across 3 years in middle school. Longitudinal social network modeling was used to identify selection and influence in the similarity of popularity among friends. It was argued that lower status adolescents strive to enhance their status through befriending higher status adolescents, whereas higher status adolescents strive to maintain their status by keeping lower status adolescents at a distance. The results largely supported these expectations. Selection partially accounted for similarity in popularity among friends; adolescents preferred to affiliate with similar-status or higher status peers, reinforcing the attractiveness of popular adolescents and explaining stability of popularity at the individual level. Influence processes also accounted for similarity in popularity over time, showing that peers increase in popularity and become more similar to their friends. The results showed how selection and influence processes account for popularity dynamics in adolescent networks over time.
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