Preference and popularity as distinct forms of status: A meta-analytic review of 20 years of research
Number of pages
SourceJournal of Adolescence, 84, (2020), pp. 78-95
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ BSI ON
Journal of Adolescence
Introduction: A systematic meta-analysis was conducted of the association between preference and popularity across childhood and adolescence. The role of development, sex, and region of the world were examined. Method: The analysis was conducted on 135 samples including 136,014 participants. The samples were divided by age (upper grades primary school, k = 41; lower grades secondary school, k = 72; upper grades secondary school, k = 22) and region (North America, k = 54; Europe, k = 66; China, k = 10). Results: Across all samples, a moderate positive association between preference and popularity was found (r = 0.45). The association was significantly weaker in the upper grades of secondary school (r = 0.37) than in the lower grades of secondary school (r = 0.47) or the upper grades of primary school (r = 0.47). The association was weaker for girls (r = 0.26) than for boys (r = 0.38) in the upper grades of secondary school. The association was weaker in European samples (r = 0.41) than in those from North America (r = 0.50) and China (r = 0.57). Conclusions: The results confirmed that preference and popularity are related but distinct dimensions of adolescent peer status. The association differed significantly by age, sex, and region of the world. Further research should examine additional factors that explain the variability in the association between preference and popularity.
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