Characteristics of Likability, Perceived Popularity, and Admiration in the Early Adolescent Peer System in the United States and China

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Abstract

High social status youth are often influential in the peer system. Thus, they may serve as agents of cultural socialization if they exhibit characteristics that reflect cultural values (e.g., interdependence). This research examined the behavior that contributes to high social status in the United States and China. At each of 3 waves, 934 early adolescents (M age = 12.7 years at Wave 1) made behavioral (i.e., prosocial behavior and academic engagement) and social status (i.e., likability, perceived popularity, and admiration) nominations of their peers. Positive behavior was predictive of higher social status in both the United States and China, but this was stronger in China. In the United States, there was a tendency for positive behavior to be less predictive of perceived popularity than other forms of social status (e.g., likability); however, this tendency was not evident in China.

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