Competition, Envy, or Snobbism? How Popularity and Friendships Shape Antipathy Networks of Adolescents

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Abstract

This study examined how status (popularity) and friendship relations affected the development of adolescents' dislike relations (i.e., antipathy networks) over time. Three competing hypotheses were formulated about the role of status: antipathy relations result from either similarity in status (competition hypothesis) or dissimilarity in status when lower status peers reject higher status peers (envy hypothesis) or vice versa (snobbism hypothesis). Hypotheses were tested in a longitudinal sample of adolescents from Chile (fifth to sixth grade; 52% boys; N = 273). Antipathy and friendship networks were examined simultaneously using longitudinal social network modeling (SIENA). Higher status adolescents were more likely to reject their lower status peers, in line with the snobbism hypothesis. Furthermore, best friends tended to agree upon which peers to reject over time.

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