Continuity and Change in Middle Elementary Students' Popularity and Social Preference Public Deposited

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  • March 20, 2019
  • Marcus, Sara R.
    • Affiliation: School of Education
  • Within the sociometric tradition, popularity has been defined as being widely well-liked by peers. Sociometrically popular students display a host of prosocial behaviors that contribute to typically positive developmental outcomes. Recently, researchers have begun to challenge this notion and have suggested that students who are named as popular by their peers are not necessarily well-liked and friendly, cooperative, and helpful. Instead, they demonstrate a blend of positive social conduct coupled with elevated levels of social aggression, bullying, and risk-taking behaviors. This group has been termed 'perceived popular'. The present study examined 3rd and 4th grade students (n=1,359) based on popular group membership assigned through sociometric techniques. Students were assigned to one of four popular groups: 1) Sociometrically Popular; 2) Perceived Popular; 3) Both Perceived and Sociometrically Popular; or 4) Not Popular. Social self-perceptions, self-concept, and peerreported social behaviors were investigated over two data collection time points spanning an academic year. Significant between-group differences existed on all measures at the outset of the study. Stability versus change in popularity over the school year differentially influenced peer-reported social behaviors but not social self-perceptions or self-concept depending on popular group assignment at Time 1. Peer-reported leadership was shown to have a mediating effect on the relationship between prosocial and Machiavellian social success, while bullying appeared to strongly influence students' social acceptance. Implications for intervention development and future research agendas are discussed.
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  • In Copyright
  • DeRosier, Melissa E.
  • Open access

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