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Pathways, Networks, and Norms A Sociological Perspective on Peer Research

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Abstract

This handbook chapter considers the dynamic interplay between the individual and his or her ever-changing environment. It presents the extensive progress that peer researchers have made on the life course, social networks, and social norms. The central message of the chapter is that one must first recognize the within-person variability in and interdependence of lived experiences prior to connecting these to changes in behavior over time.

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... First, some individual-level features, such as aggression, withdrawal, and weak social or cognitive abilities, are known antecedents of negative peer experiences such as victimization, rejection, and isolation. Second, norms and expectations occurring at the level of the dyad or the group ascribe salience to particular forms of behaviors or competence and, as a consequence, lead to increased levels of similarity between friends and peer group members (see Bukowski, Castellanos, Vitaro & Brendgen, 2015;Hartup, 1996;Laursen, 2018;Veenstra, Dijkstra, & Kraeger, 2018). Third, friendship acts as a powerful form of protection against the negative effects of undesirable social experiences such as victimization and rejection (Bagwell & Bukowski, 2018). ...
... One can expect SES to affect group norms, the salience of particular factors for popularity and acceptance, levels of social and test anxiety, provisions available in friendship relations, and the emphasis that children place on the cultural dimensions of individualism and collectivism. These SES-related differences will, in turn, affect well-being via three basic peer mechanisms: (a) norms and the salience ascribed to forms of functioning affect behavior and goals (Veenstra et al., 2018); (b) aspects of friendship influence well-being and act as protective factors (Bagwell & Bukowski, 2018); and (c) the moral climate of peer groups maximize trajectories of affective well-being (Dirks, Dunfield, & Recchia, 2018). ...
... In regard to methods, research on peers and SES is suited to multilevel analysis and it can be enhanced by recent advances in assessing network-oriented and cultural features of groups. Network features refer to the internal structure of groups based on patterns of association between peers (see Veenstra et al., 2018) whereas cultural dimensions refer to the dimensions of collectivism and individualism (Santo et al., 2013). ...
Article
Although peer relations are recognized as a fundamental developmental context, they have been rarely studied as a means of understanding the effects of socioeconomic status and inequality. In this paper, we show how and why peer relations provide a unique and powerful opportunity to assess the differential risks and resources available in the peer system to children and adolescents from different SES spectra. We argue that research on the intersection between SES and peer relations will enrich both these domains of study.
... Perceived pandemic-related peer behavior and concern As peer norms reflect consent of what is acceptable behavior in a given context (Veenstra et al., 2018), they may be of particular importance in shaping individual behavior during a pandemic, such as, compliance with social distancing rules (Andrews et al., 2020). Given the heightened need for social connection, young adults may be highly attentive to their peers' behavior, using them as a reference for their own attitudes and behaviors (e.g., Blakemore, 2018). ...
... Accordingly, previous research documented positive peer influences on, for example, intentions to volunteer (Choukas-Bradley et al., 2015) as well as negative ones with regard to health behavior and externalizing problems. This prior research assumed various mechanisms at work, such as conformity, peer pressure, and social sanctions on the one hand and social facilitation and learning on the other (for an overview, see Veenstra et al., 2018). ...
... In particular, while perceiving peers as rule neglecting may negatively shape young adults' beliefs about Covid-19 and social distancing behavior, perceiving peers as expressing high concern for vulnerable groups may foster volunteering and expressing concern for vulnerable groups. Although the findings of the current study cannot be interpreted causally (as they were part of cross-sectional profile analyses), they nevertheless align with previous work on positive (e.g., volunteering;Choukas-Bradley et al., 2015) and negative peer influences (e.g., rule-neglecting behavior; Dahl & van Zalk, 2014;Veenstra et al., 2018). However, several limitations apply: First, as this was an anonymous online study, peer norms were operationalized as individual perceptions. ...
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This study explored characteristics of young adults’ solidarity during the Covid-19 pandemic by identifying three different profiles, characterized by low (23%), average (54%), and high solidarity (23%). Based on longitudinal Swiss panel data (NT1 = 797, Mage T1 = 12.15 years, 51% female; 28% migration background representing diverse ethnicities; NT2 = 707, Mage T2 = 15.33 years; NT3 = 596, Mage T3 = 18.31 years), the study combined person-and variable-centered approaches to examine whether sympathy, social trust, and peer exclusion at earlier phases in development predicted membership in pandemic-related solidarity profiles (NT4 = 300, Mage T4 = 20.33 years). All developmental predictors were significantly associated with the likelihood of expressing solidarity during the pandemic as young adults.
... Peer norms are the prevailing behaviors and dispositions in the peer group . During adolescence, the peer group and prevailing norms within the peer group become increasingly important, and help them to define their identity, attitudes, and behaviors (Veenstra et al., 2018). Adolescents are susceptible to conform to these group norms in order to fit in (Prinstein & Dodge, 2008), as being accepted by peers and feeling belonged is important for them (Tarrant et al., 2001). ...
... To date, most research on peer norms has exclusively focused on aggressive or risky behaviors, and is scarce regarding academic behaviors and engagement (Shin, 2017;Veenstra et al., 2018). Research on descriptive norms and engagement has shown that high average levels of engagement in the peer group can promote students' own engagement. ...
... As a result, friends might encourage or discourage specific behaviors of each other, such as being engaged in school and achieving well. To date, the vast majority of research on friendship dynamics has focused on non-educational outcomes, such as drinking and smoking behavior, or has failed to provide insights in the changing nature of these friendships, or to include important characteristics of the friendship network (e.g., tendency to reciprocate friendships; Veenstra et al., 2018). ...
Thesis
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Although engagement in school is important for successful learning, achievement, and graduation, studies have revealed generally declining trajectories of students’ school engagement during adolescence (Christenson, Reschly, & Wylie, 2012a; Fredricks, Filsecker, & Lawson, 2016). It has been suggested that these downward trajectories might be contingent on age-related risk factors in the school environment. This dissertation addressed significant gaps in the literature by clarifying how adolescents’ school engagement trajectories are shaped by relationships with peers, teachers, and their interplay, using samples with varying levels of ethnic diversity. The first objective was to provide insights into the peer dynamics involved in adolescents’ school engagement trajectories while taking into account the multidimensionality of peer relationships, including dimensions such as peer status (i.e., peer likeability and popularity) and peer norms (i.e., descriptive and popularity norms). Regarding peer status, adolescents’ likeability was generally associated with more behavioral and emotional engagement in school, whereas popularity was related to less behavioral engagement and more behavioral disaffection (Chapter 2 and 5). However, likeability and popularity were also found to co-occur within adolescents, with popular-liked students reporting less behavioral engagement and more disaffection compared to adolescents with an unpopular-disliked or normative peer status (Chapter 3). With regard to peer norms, we found that descriptive norms, and not popularity norms, that reflect high levels of engagement were positively related to initial levels of adolescents’ own engagement (Chapter 6). In general, these findings underscore the importance of distinguishing between the multiple aspects of peer relationships in relation to the various school engagement dimensions. The second objective was to shed light on how affective relationships with teachers impact adolescents’ school engagement, covering both positive and negative teacher-student relationships using student, peer, and teacher perspectives. Positive, supportive teacher-student relationships were associated with more behavioral and emotional engagement (Chapter 5 and 6). In contrast, negative, conflictual relationships with the teacher were found to hamper adolescents’ behavioral engagement (Chapter 4 and 5). These findings were congruent when using student (Chapter 6), peer (Chapter 5), and teacher (Chapter 4) perceptions of the teacher-student relationship, and denoted that also during adolescence, teachers remain important social sources of influence. The third objective was to investigate the interplay between teachers and peers in shaping the school engagement of adolescents by examining the transactional associations between teacher-student relationships and peer status, on the one hand, and the joint or interactive effects of teacher support and peer norms on school engagement, on the other hand. No associations over time were found between teacher-student relationships and peer status, suggesting that teachers and peers tend to constitute separate social worlds in adolescence (Chapter 5). Furthermore, the role of teacher support in shaping students’ engagement was stronger in classrooms with high average levels behavioral engagement (i.e., descriptive norms), with teacher support buffering against the decline in behavioral engagement over time in these classrooms (Chapter 6). Taken together, these findings highlight the importance of adolescents’ relationships with their peers and teachers for the development of their engagement in school. Implications for future studies and educational practice are discussed.
... Given our primary focus on peer relationships, we underscore that when interpersonal racism occurs among peers, its consequences reverberate back into the peer system and produce peer relational outcomes, including brittle and low-quality intergroup friendships as well as peer group ethnic or racial segregation (e.g., Jugert & Feddes, 2017;McPherson et al., 2001). By affecting these peer relational outcomes, interpersonal racism continues to be perpetuated within a peer system because peer behaviors, including behavioral manifestations of interpersonal racism, determine peer group norms (Veenstra et al., 2018). Subsequently, these behaviors and norms feed into peer group climates (path L), which, in turn, may moderate the incidence of interpersonal racism (path E) and its effects on the individual recipient (path C). ...
... Peer relationships are complex and dynamic social settings (Bukowski et al, 2018;Veenstra et al., 2018). When interpersonal racism occurs among peers, its consequences can reverberate and feed into relationships not only between peers but also to broader peer group processes. ...
... social setting scale up to produce larger social structures and dynamics in peer groups (Hinde, 1976). In particular, an ecological perspective on peer relationships provides fundamental insights into how this may develop (McFarland et al., 2014;Veenstra et al., 2018). That is, variation in relational preferences for ingroup members and outgroup members interact with the social environment (e.g., ethnic-racial composition of a school or classroom setting) in which they unfold, ultimately accumulating to peer group outcomes of segregation, hierarchy, and norms. ...
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This paper presents a call for research to examine how interpersonal racism shapes and is shaped by peer relationships in adolescence. Prior research has primarily focused on individual experiences of interpersonal racism and their effects on individual adjustment. Moreover, this work has mostly relied on static indices of the peer context, which has hampered our ability to understand interpersonal mechanisms of racism in a larger peer system. We propose a conceptual framework that examines how interpersonal racism occurs in peer relationships by identifying (1) the multiple types of interpersonal racism perpetrated in peer relationships, (2) the peer consequences of interpersonal racism, and (3) the multiple roles that peers may play in interpersonal racism. This framework integrates culturally- and intergroup contact-informed models with peer relationship models to chart a comprehensive account of the antecedents and mechanisms through which interpersonal racism is embedded and unfolds in peer relationships. Carefully understanding these complex issues is necessary to advance developmental theory and research on challenges and opportunities of intergroup peer relationships and to design more effective interventions to help reduce interpersonal racism and enhance positive intergroup peer relationships in adolescence.
... Social norms generally represent the consensus within a group about how group members behave or ought to behave. Thereby social norms function as a guide for the individuals' behavior (Dijkstra et al., 2008;Veenstra, Dijkstra, & Kreager, 2018). Descriptive norms, also called behavioral norms, reflect the average levels of pupils' behavior (Veenstra et al., 2018). ...
... Thereby social norms function as a guide for the individuals' behavior (Dijkstra et al., 2008;Veenstra, Dijkstra, & Kreager, 2018). Descriptive norms, also called behavioral norms, reflect the average levels of pupils' behavior (Veenstra et al., 2018). In special education for pupils with emotional and behavioral problems, higher individual levels of problem behaviors are much more common than in regular education. ...
... Pupils with high status (e.g., popular pupils) may be more influential. Particularly, the behaviors that correlate with popularity within the classroom (norm salience) may play a role in the extent to which behaviors are accepted by classmates (Dijkstra & Gest, 2015;Veenstra et al., 2018). Incorporating other social norms may therefore enhance our insight in between classroom differences with regard to the acceptability of certain behaviors in special education. ...
Article
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This study investigated the role of behavioral norms on concurrent links between problem behaviors (externalizing problems, internalizing problems, attention-hyperactivity problems) and social status (acceptance, rejection) in special education classrooms at four time points within and across school years. Two opposing models were considered, the "person-group similarity model," suggesting moderation of behavioral norms, and the "social skill model," suggesting no moderation. The sample included a total of 580 pupils (88% boys, M age Time1 ¼ 10.82 years, SD ¼ .86) attending 37 classrooms from 13 Dutch schools for special education. Multilevel analyses revealed that the data generally supported a "social skill model," meaning that higher individual levels of attention-hyperactivity problems and externalizing problems were related to lower acceptance and higher rejection, independent of behavioral norms. Support for behavioral norms as moderators of the link between individual behaviors and social status was limited to pupils with attention-hyperactivity problems being less rejected in classrooms in which this behavior was normative. In sum, these results provide an initial exploration of the role of behavioral norms in special education. Various explanations for the results, including special education characteristics and the value of behavioral norms, are discussed.
... Descriptive norms are perceptions of what others typically do in a certain context (Borsari & Carey, 2001), such as within a classroom. Descriptive norms influence adolescents' alcohol use and smoking behavior (Borsari & Carey, 2001;Veenstra et al., 2018). Popular adolescents have a strong impact on classroom norms; they decide who is accepted, who fits in, or who is rejected (Malamut et al., 2020;Veenstra et al., 2018), and their behaviors pose an important norm to others (Dijkstra & Gest, 2015). ...
... Descriptive norms influence adolescents' alcohol use and smoking behavior (Borsari & Carey, 2001;Veenstra et al., 2018). Popular adolescents have a strong impact on classroom norms; they decide who is accepted, who fits in, or who is rejected (Malamut et al., 2020;Veenstra et al., 2018), and their behaviors pose an important norm to others (Dijkstra & Gest, 2015). Not conforming to classroom norms can lead to social sanctions such as rejection or exclusion (e.g., social misfit theory, cf. ...
... Not conforming to classroom norms can lead to social sanctions such as rejection or exclusion (e.g., social misfit theory, cf. Veenstra et al., 2018). According to the reputational salience hypothesis (Hartup, 1996), behaviors that are awarded with reputation and status, receive more value and become more salient than behaviors that do not reveal such association or are associated with peer rejection (Henry et al., 2000). ...
Article
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Explanations about differences in drinking and smoking rates between educational tracks have so far mainly focused on factors outside the classroom. The extent to which these behaviors are rewarded with popularity within a classroom—so called popularity norms—and their interaction with individual characteristics could explain the observed differences in risk behavior. 1860 adolescents (Mage = 13.04; 50% girls) from 81 different classrooms reported three times during one academic year about their own and their classmates behavior. Overall, in vocational tracks popularity norms for alcohol and smoking were more positive and predicted classroom differences in alcohol and smoking. Knowledge about classroom processes can advance the field in unraveling the functional aspects of risk behavior in adolescence. Preregistration: The hypotheses and the analytical plan of this study were preregistered under number #39136 (https://aspredicted.org/blind.php?x=gx77p6).
... In practice, peer acceptance may include having friends to hang out with during breaks, being encouraged by peers for doing good work, receiving academic help, and being comforted when feeling down. Rejection refers to the extent to which adolescents are disliked by classmates (Veenstra et al., 2018). Being rejected by classmates may imply being excluded, receiving negative reactions to behavior, and not having friends to hang out with or reach out to for emotional support. ...
... Scores for peer acceptance and peer rejection ranged from 0 to 1, with higher scores indicating more acceptance or rejection. This procedure is a commonly used and reliable way to treat peer nominations (Veenstra et al., 2018). ...
... Accordingly, previous studies determined child-reports to be valid measures of parental acceptance and rejection (Hughes et al., 2005;Jager et al., 2016). No self-reports were available for peer acceptance and rejection, and using peer nominations is recommended (Sentse et al., 2010;Veenstra et al., 2018). Future studies would enrich the literature by using similar measures for acceptance and rejection by parents and peers; this would confirm the unique contributions of parents and peers to long-term educational attainment, while seeking to limit the shortcomings of common method variance (Miljkovitch et al., 2021). ...
Article
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Acceptance and rejection by parents and peers play an important role in pre-adolescents’ educational outcomes. Prior research focused on either parents or peers, did not encompass effects into adulthood, or considered either acceptance or rejection. This study investigated the relation between parental and peer acceptance and rejection, and their interplay, in pre-adolescence and educational attainment in early adulthood. A sample of 2229 pre-adolescents (Mage T1 = 11.11, SD = 0.56; 50.7% girls) was followed to early adulthood (Mage T5 = 22.29, SD = 0.65). Ordinal logistic regression showed that pre-adolescents’ perceived parental acceptance was positively related to educational attainment in early adulthood, whereas peer rejection was negatively related, even when WISC score and socioeconomic status were considered. No interaction effects were found, revealing no “dual-hit effect” of being rejected by parents and peers, no “dual-miss effect” of being accepted by parents and peers, and no effects of acceptance in one context (i.e., parents or peers) buffering the negative effect of rejection in the other context. The findings underscore unique and long-term links of parental acceptance and peer rejection with early adults’ educational attainment, underlining the importance of not only peers but also parents in adolescence. These insights can be used in promoting long-term educational outcomes through relationships with parents and peers.
... Social network analysis (SNA) describes the links between members of a network in terms of their relationships (Wölfer et al. 2015). In this instance, it can test proposed social influence mechanisms for change (socialization and selection; Veenstra et al. 2018;Wölfer et al. 2015), that is, shifts in the social network that align with changes in parenting or vice versa. Selection processes refer to mechanisms by which people alter their relationships in response to the social context (Veenstra et al. 2018). ...
... In this instance, it can test proposed social influence mechanisms for change (socialization and selection; Veenstra et al. 2018;Wölfer et al. 2015), that is, shifts in the social network that align with changes in parenting or vice versa. Selection processes refer to mechanisms by which people alter their relationships in response to the social context (Veenstra et al. 2018). Socialization processes are mechanisms of social influence, and concern how peer relationships can alter individual behaviors (e.g., parenting). ...
Article
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Harsh parenting attitudes and behaviors negatively impact children’s behavior and development, and are linked to heightened levels of violence in children. Parent training programs are effective preventive interventions, but only reach caregivers who attend them. In this study, programs were implemented alongside a community mobilization process, intended to use caregivers’ social networks to disseminate new parenting skills community wide. We used social network analysis to explore whether this intervention, first, increased positive parenting, second, changed social networks of female caregivers ( selection ), and, third, influenced parenting behavior via connections ( socialization ), while controlling for psychiatric morbidity, parenting stress, alcohol misuse, and child’s age. “Colored” Afrikaans-speaking female caregivers ( N = 235; mean age 35.92 years) in a rural community in South Africa, with children between 1½ and 18 years old, were included in the study; two waves of data were collected (January–April 2016 and June–October 2017). We detected community-wide increases in positive parenting behavior (involvement, supervision, consistent discipline, and reduced corporal punishment). Attending at least one session of a parenting skills training program ( n = 51; 21.7%) significantly predicted increases in network centrality (i.e., outdegree and indegree). Caregivers appeared to use similar parenting behavior to other caregivers they were connected to within the network, especially when those others attended a parenting skills training program. Overall, the results suggest that the information in the intervention was spread throughout the community through social interactions with program attendees and the community mobilization process. The results also illustrate the value of social network analysis for ascertaining the processes by which the intervention achieved its impact.
... Over the last few decades there has been a rapid growth in sociological research that applies a social network approach to study the interdependence between persons and their social environments (Borgatti, Mehra, Brass, & Labianca, 2009;Veenstra, Dijkstra, & Kreager, 2018). A social network is typically defined as a set of individuals within a bounded setting who are connected through measureable social ties, such as friendships. ...
... A social network approach acknowledges individual agency in network formation (e.g., self-selection processes in relationships) as well as the interdependence of individual characteristics as affecting network structure. In turn, network structure is assumed to influence individual outcomes over time (Steglich, Snijders, & Pearson, 2010;Veenstra et al., 2018). A large part of the sociological network research focused on adolescents' friendship networks in schools to explain changes in behavioral outcomes and vice versa (see for an overview Veenstra, Dijkstra, Steglich, & Van Zalk, 2013). ...
Article
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The current study examined the structure of social relations among Dutch prisoners using a social network perspective. Data came from the Life-in-Custody-study (LIC-study), a nationwide prospective study designed to examine the quality of prison life in the Netherlands. We used a subsample of 233 male prisoners from nine prison units for whom additional network data was collected using peer nominations to indicate who they get along with most. Exponential Random Graph Models revealed that network structure in prison resembles known friendship network structure outside prison, including reciprocity and transitivity in social ties (“the friends of my friends are my friends”) and homophily (i.e., a preference for similar others) on major sociodemographic dimensions such as religion and age. In conclusion, this study shows that a social network approach leads to valuable insights in social organization in prison that are also relevant for prison policy.
... These were measured with descriptive norms and popularity norms. Descriptive norms refer to what is typically observed in a given situation or social context, and thus what most others do (Cialdini et al., 1990;Deutsch & Gerard, 1955;Veenstra et al., 2018). Accordingly, this is measured using the average behavior of all students in a classroom. ...
... Popularity norms are based on the within-classroom association between social status (perceived popularity) and bullying, to capture the popularity of bullies in comparison with non-bullies (Henry et al., 2000;Veenstra et al., 2018). Because there is no obvious right choice for determining the bullying-popularity association, we measured this in three ways: (1) In our study, popularity was based on directed "Who is popular?" nominations. ...
Article
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This study investigates the extent to which defending victims of bullying depends on liking and disliking and its relation with the classroom bullying norm (descriptive and popularity) in a sample of 1,272 students (50.8% boys) in 48 fifth-grade classrooms. Social network analysis with bivariate exponential random graph modelings showed that children are more likely to defend victims whom they like, who like them, and who are liked by the same classmates than victims who they dislike, who dislike them, and with whom they share antipathies by and to the same classmates. In addition, the analysis showed that bullying norms had an inconclusive effect on the relation between defending and (dis)liking.
... All social groups, including school classes, are regulated by norms, which can be defined as "consensual standards that describe what behaviors should and should not be performed in a given context" (Forsyth, 2006, p. 12). In their theoretical work on social norms, Cialdini et al. (1990Cialdini et al. ( , 1991 suggest a distinction between injunctive norms and descriptive norms, and this social norm typology has been extensively adopted in research on peer groups, interactions, and relationships in childhood and adolescence (Lilleston et al., 2017;Sentse et al., 2015;Veenstra et al., 2018). Injunctive norms refer to what group members approve and disapprove of (what ought to be done), and are usually measured by aggregating individual attitudes within the group of reference. ...
... Injunctive norms refer to what group members approve and disapprove of (what ought to be done), and are usually measured by aggregating individual attitudes within the group of reference. Descriptive norms refer to what group members actually do (what is commonly done), measured by aggregating individual behaviors within the group (Veenstra et al., 2018). Previous research has examined how descriptive class norms and injunctive class norms of bullying are associated with defending (Peets et al., 2015;Pouwels et al., 2019;Pozzoli et al., 2012b;Yun & Graham, 2018). ...
Article
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The overall aim of the present study was to examine whether moral disengagement and perceptions of antibullying class norms at individual level and at class level were associated with defending and passive bystanding in school bullying among school-age children. More specifically, we investigated the extent to which moral disengagement would contribute to explain defending and passive bystanding, after controlling for sex and perceptions of antibullying class norms at individual level and at class level. A total of 789 Swedish students (aged 10-14) from 40 middle school classes filled out a self-report survey. The findings revealed that girls and students who were less prone to morally disengage, and who perceived that their classmates endorsed more antibullying norms, were more likely to defend victimized peers. Students who were more inclined to morally disengage and perceive that classmates do not condemn bullying were more likely to act as passive bystanders. In addition, classes with higher levels of antibullying class norms were more likely to show higher rates of defending and lower rates of passive bystanding compared to the other classes. The findings suggest that schools and teachers need to develop educational strategies, methods, and efforts designed to make students aware of moral disengagement and to reduce their likelihood of morally disengaging in bullying situations. The present findings also point to the importance of teachers establishing class rules against bullying together with the students.
... Peer norms are the prevailing behaviors and dispositions in the peer group (Farmer, McAuliffe Lines, & Hamm, 2011). During adolescence, the peer group and prevailing norms within the peer group become increasingly important, and help them to define their identity, attitudes, and behaviors (Veenstra, Dijkstra, & Kreager, 2018). Adolescents are susceptible to conform to these group norms in order to fit in (Prinstein & Dodge, 2008), as being accepted by peers and feeling belonged is important to them (Tarrant et al., 2001). ...
... To date, research on peer norms has almost exclusively focused on aggressive or risky behaviors, and is scarce regarding academic behaviors (Barth et al., 2004;Shin, 2017;Veenstra et al., 2018). Research in this field suggested that levels of bullying were higher in classrooms where bullying was associated with popularity than in classrooms where bullying was associated with non-popularity (Dijkstra, Lindenberg, & Veenstra, 2008). ...
Article
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This study investigates three important aspects of the classroom context in shaping adolescents' classroom engagement trajectories: (a) teacher support, (b) peer norms (i.e., descriptive and popularity norms), and (c) ethnic classroom composition (i.e., ethnic heterogeneity and proportion of majorities). An ethnically diverse sample of 730 adolescents from Grades 9 to 11 was followed annually. Longitudinal multilevel models revealed that more teacher support and higher classroom-levels of engagement (i.e., descriptive norms) promote adolescents' behavioral and emotional engagement. Moreover, more ethnic heterogeneity in the classroom related to less steep decreases in behavioral engagement over time, whereas higher proportions of majorities in the classroom were associated with steeper decreases in emotional engagement over time. Associations were the same for ethnic minorities and majorities. Furthermore, teacher support and descriptive norms jointly buffered against declining behavioral engagement trajectories. In general, this study underscored the importance of the classroom context in adolescents' behavioral and emotional engagement.
... Third, the findings could be critically discussed in terms of norm uncertainty/ambiguity and pluralistic ignorance (cf. Veenstra et al., 2018). In the social psychological literature, pluralistic ignorance often refers to "the beliefs that one's attitudes and judgments are different from those of others, even though one's public behavior is identical" (Prentice and Miller, 2003, p. 585). ...
... One way of testing this would be to aggregate individual moral disengagement and DSE at classroom level, conceptualized as prescriptive (or injunctive) norms of the school class (cf. Veenstra et al., 2018). In the literature, aggregating individual moral disengagement is termed class moral disengagement Thornberg et al., 2017). ...
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The aim of this study was to examine whether individual and classroom collective social-cognitive processes (moral disengagement and self-efficacy) were associated with bullying perpetration among schoolchildren. An additional aim was to examine whether changes in these processes from grade 4 (Time 1) to grade 5 (Time 2) were associated with a change in bullying perpetration. Self-reported survey data were collected from 1,250 Swedish students from 98 classrooms. Results of multilevel analysis indicated that individual and classroom collective moral disengagement (CMD) were positively associated with bullying, and defender self-efficacy (DSE) was negatively associated with bullying. The effect of changes in individual moral disengagement on changes in bullying was positive, and the effects of changes in DSE and classroom collective efficacy on changes in bullying were negative. Thus, the findings demonstrate the changeability of moral disengagement, DSE and collective efficacy over time, and how these changes are linked to changes in bullying perpetration.
... Identity markers help distinguish in-group members from out-group members. Some identity markers reflect social norms, which encompass principles and values that are sources of agreement and causes for unity (Veenstra et al., 2018). To gain admission into a group, adolescents are expected to indicate their compatibility by endorsing the group's social norms, usually with a visible identity signal. ...
... Behavior is influenced by social norms. Typically, norm conformity is enforced through social groups (Veenstra et al., 2018). Adolescents prioritize popularity, because of the influence that popular youth wield and the privileges they enjoy. ...
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Compelling evidence demonstrates that peer influence is a pervasive force during adolescence, one that shapes adap-tive and maladaptive attitudes and behaviors. This literature review focuses on factors that make adolescence a period of special vulnerability to peer influence. Herein, we advance the Influence-Compatibility Model, which integrates converging views about early adolescence as a period of increased conformity with evidence that peer influence functions to increase affiliate similarity. Together, these developmental forces smooth the establishment of friendships and integration into the peer group, promote interpersonal and intragroup compatibility, and eliminate differences that might result in social exclusion.
... Im frühen Jugendalter spielen dagegen eher Einflussprozesse eine Rolle für Tabakkonsum, hier werden Jugendliche also eher von Freunden zu einer Veränderung ihres Rauchverhaltens gebracht(Osgood et al., 2015;Steglich, Snijders, & Pearson, 2010). Diese Befunde legen nahe, dass Tabakkonsum nach einer gewissen Probierphase im frühen Jugendalter abhängig macht und danach soziale Einflüsse auf das Rauchverhalten eine geringere Rolle spielen(Veenstra et al., 2018). ...
... Diese Befunde verdeutlichen, dass das Ausmaß an Ähnlichkeit zwischen Freunden/Freundinnen nicht nur die Wahrscheinlichkeit des Zustandekommens, sondern auch die Auflösung von Freundschaften beeinflusst. Unähnlichkeit führt demnach zu Unzufriedenheit mit der Beziehung und erhöht die Wahrscheinlichkeit, dass die Beziehung nicht weitergeführt wird(Veenstra, Dijkstra, & Kreager, 2018). ...
Chapter
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Das Ziel dieses Kapitels ist es, drei grundlegende Aspekte der Freundschafts- und Peerbeziehungen in Jugendalter darzustellen. Zuerst soll die Komplexität der Peerbeziehungen aufgezeigt werden, die sich in den verschiedenen Ebenen von dyadischen Freundschaften, in Cliquen, Crowds und der Jugendkultur ausdrückt. Als zweites soll das Ähnlichkeitsprinzip in Freundschaften beschrieben und erklärt werden. Dabei werden auch Prozesse erläutert, die zu einer solchen Ähnlichkeit in Peerbeziehungen führen. Als drittes werden Freundschaften im Jugendalter im Lichte der vielfältigen biologischen, kognitiven und sozialen Veränderungen betrachtet, die diese Lebensphase allgemein kennzeichnen. Zuletzt gehen wir auf zukünftige Herausforderungen in der Freundschaftsforschung sowie auf praktische Implikationen ein. Wir hoffen, dass dieser Beitrag dabei hilft, spezifische Inhalte und Ergebnisse anderer Kapitel dieses Buches in den Kontext allgemeiner Veränderungen der Peerumwelt im Jugendalter einzuordnen.
... The person-group-similarity model (Wright et al., 1986) states that classroom descriptive norms for problem behavior (i.e., the average level of such behavior across all students in a class; Cialdini et al., 1990;Veenstra et al., 2018) impacts on the association between students' individual problem behavior and acceptance and rejection. Stormshak et al. (1999), for example, showed that the negative effect of aggressive behavior on individual social status decreased in regular classrooms where aggressive behavior was normative. ...
... When it was nonnormative, aggressive behavior was more likely to be associated with a low social status. Following social comparison theory (Festinger, 1954), this observation may be explained by the fact that individuals compare themselves with others to evaluate or enhance aspects of themselves (Festinger, 1954;Kindermann & Gest, 2018;Suls et al., 2002;Veenstra et al., 2018). If there is a discrepancy between the behaviors of members of the same group, individuals will try to reduce this discrepancy by changing their own position or by trying to change the position of other group members. ...
... Though there are conceptual benefits of measures of social network position, they are underutilized in peer relationships research (though peer relationships researchers frequently model processes that create and result from social networks; i.e., SIENA models; Sijtsema and Lindenberg 2018; Veenstra et al. 2018). This infrequent use may be because the theoretical underpinnings of networkbased measures have not often been related to peer relationships and social constructs (instead, these measures are more often used to consider the flow of information in a network and organizational significance; Borgatti and Halgin 2011), and thus, are not seen to have value in addressing questions relevant to peer relationships researchers. ...
Article
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Measures of social network position provide unique social and relational information yet have not been used extensively by researchers who study peer relationships. This study explored two measures—social network prestige and social network centrality—to improve conceptualization of their similarities, differences, and meaning within a peer relationships context. Prestige and centrality were computed from friendship nominations (N = 396 6th graders; 48% girls; 49% White) and participants nominated peers on several social indicators (e.g., aggressive, popular). Two example classroom networks were examined to visually depict social network position. Associations between measures of social network position and social indicators were examined using correlations and latent profile analysis. Latent profile analysis identified three profiles based on the social indicators, which differentially related to prestige and centrality. Overall, prestigious youth were generally well-liked, prosocial, and leaders, whereas central youth were powerful and aggressive. The results strengthen the conceptualization of these network-based measures, allowing them to be more readily used by peer relationships researchers to understand youth’s interaction patterns and behaviors.
... Although class moral disengagement can be considered a group characteristic in terms of prescriptive (or injunctive) norms of the school class (cf. Veenstra, Dijkstra, & Kreager, 2018), it should not be confused with CMD. With reference to social cognitive theory (White, Bandura, & Bero, 2009), CMD has fallen within the scope of the current study. ...
Article
School bullying is a complex social and relational phenomenon with severe consequences for those involved. Most children view bullying as wrong and recognize its harmful consequences; nevertheless, it continues to be a persistent problem within schools. Previous research has shown that children’s engagement in bullying perpetration can be influenced by multiple factors (e.g., different forms of cognitive distortions) and at different ecological levels (e.g., child, peer-group, school, and society). However, the complexity of school bullying warrants further investigation of the interplay between factors, at different levels. Grounded in social cognitive theory, which focuses on both cognitive factors and social processes, this study examined whether children’s bullying perpetration was associated with moral disengagement at the child level and with collective moral disengagement and prevalence of pro-bullying behavior at the classroom level. Cross-level interactions were also tested to examine the effects of classroom-level variables on the association between children’s tendency to morally disengage and bullying perpetration. The study’s analyses were based on cross-sectional self-report questionnaire data from 1,577 Swedish fifth-grade children from 105 classrooms (53.5% girls; M age = 11.3, SD = 0.3). Multilevel modeling techniques were used to analyze the data. The results showed that bullying perpetration was positively associated with moral disengagement at the child level and with collective moral disengagement and pro-bullying behavior at the classroom level. Furthermore, the effect of individual moral disengagement on bullying was stronger for children in classrooms with higher levels of pro-bullying behaviors. These findings further support the argument that both moral processes and behaviors within classrooms, such as collective moral disengagement and pro-bullying behavior, need to be addressed in schools’ preventive work against bullying.
... Accordingly, they may adopt behavior and attitudes that are associated with prestige popularity, but not other non-salient attitudes (Rambaran, Dijkstra, & Stark, 2013). One way to capture the salience with respect to intergroup attitudes is by testing within-classroom correlation between popularity and intergroup attitudes (Veenstra, Dijkstra, & Kreager, 2017). Our data showed the average correlation across all classrooms between prestige popularity and intergroup attitudes at Time 1 was .074. ...
Article
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Research has shown that adolescents’ intergroup attitudes are subject to friends’ influence, but it remains unknown if certain friends are more influential than others. Popular adolescents may be especially influential of their friends’ intergroup attitudes because they can set peer norms. We examined several indicators of popularity in social networks as possible determinants of social influence: sociometric popularity, prestige popularity, being a clique leader, and frequency of contact with friends. Longitudinal analysis of adolescents’ friendship networks (12–13 years, N = 837) allowed estimating influence of friends on adolescents’ intergroup attitudes, while controlling for the tendency of adolescents to befriend peers with similar intergroup attitudes. Results showed that adolescents’ intergroup attitudes changed in the direction of friends’ intergroup attitudes. Only peers who are popular in terms of having many friends (sociometric popular) were especially influential of their friends’ intergroup attitudes. These findings may inform future interventions aiming to reduce prejudice.
... We can operationalize direct influence by observing direct ties of friendship; while undirected influence can be represented by socials norms (Veenstra, Dijkstra, & Kreager, 2017). Rubin, Bukowski & Parker (2007), students are immersed in relationships, but relationships are rooted in groups too. ...
Poster
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Applied work usually uses the concept of norm to explain how social context affects the individual's decisions. However, the social organization inside a classroom is composed by heterogeneous relationships that are not explained by general norms. In a classroom, student's subgroups can share different values regarding alcohol use. These values could be independent to the overall classroom norms of alcohol use. An analytical tool to account this heterogeneity is the concept of proximal peer-context, which enable us to identify specific peers or relationships that affect individuals directly. Proximal context is more specific than social norms because it captures the significant relationships in a social context influenced by multiple factors. Social network analysis, operationalizes the concept of proximal peer context and norm classroom context (distal) and studies its effect on individual choices of alcohol use in last 30 days.
... Thus, this relationship merits greater attention. While plenty of studies have proven that peer interactions are deeply influenced by cultural context-including peer culture (Fuller-Rowell and Doan, 2010;Veenstra et al., 2018) and sociocultural background (Chen et al., 2003b;Li et al., 2012)few studies have examined the relationship between academic achievement, academic motivation, and perceived popularity within the context of classroom norms. In addition, most studies have been carried out in Western countries, despite research showing that both academic achievement and academic motivation (e.g., achievement goals) have different meanings for adolescents in Eastern and Western cultures (Liem et al., 2008;Li et al., 2012). ...
Article
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In order to extend our understanding of the effect of academic motivations and outcomes on the social status of adolescents in the classroom context, this study examined the predictive role of academic achievement and achievement goals on early adolescents' perceived popularity and the effect of classroom academic norm salience on these relationships. In total, 2,558 adolescents in grade 7 (mean age 12.97 years) in mainland China participated in the study. Hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) was used to examine predictive effects of within-class and between-class predictors on perceived popularity. The results showed that only girls' academic achievement and the performance-approach goals of both genders positively predicted adolescents' perceived popularity. Classroom academic norm salience strengthened the negative role of performance-avoidance goals on perceived popularity, and it seems to undermine gender differences in the effect of mastery goals on perceived popularity. The current study will not only fill the gaps in research on the relationship between academic development and social status, but also reveal the special influence and significance of collective cultures such as Chinese in this field and show a different relationship pattern from those found in previous Western studies.
... The norm of the group has been recognized as a main characteristic of the class network. These group norms are taken as a model for personal behavior, having an impact on students' attitudes and decisions [17]. Recent studies have stressed that group norms influence children's psychological, emotional, and moral attitudes to bullying [18] and what type of feedback peers give when bullying occurs [8]. ...
Article
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The aim of this study was to examine differences in perceived popularity and social preference of bullying roles and class norms. In total, 1,339 students (48% girls) participated: 674 primary school (M = 10.41 years, SD = 0.49) and 685 secondary school students (M = 12.67 years, SD = 0.80). Peer nominations and perceptions of class norms were collected. The results showed the highest perceived popularity among aggressors and defenders, except in anti-bullying primary school classes, where aggressors had low levels of popularity. In pro-bullying secondary school classes school, female victims had the lowest popularity levels. These findings suggest that class norms and personal variables as gender and school levels are important to understand bullying roles. Practical implications are discussed to guide teachers and practitioners according to the importance to adapt antibullying programs to the characteristics of the group in each school level and gender.
... Even though relational victimization emerges in elementary school years (Wolke, Woods, Stanford, & Schulz, 2001), studies on the association between relational victimization and the development of risk-taking behavior in elementary schoolchildren are lacking. In addition, there is growing recognition that the social norm of classrooms needs to be considered to get a better understanding of the impact of victimization on behavioral development (Brendgen & Troop-Gordon, 2015;Veenstra, Dijkstra, & Kreager, 2018). Therefore, the aim of this study is to investigate the impact of relational victimization on the development of risk-taking behavior in elementary schoolchildren in the context of the classroom norm toward risk-taking. ...
Article
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The association between relational victimization and risk-taking development in children is understudied. Also, it is not clear how the social classroom norm may affect this link. The aim of this study was, therefore, to investigate the link between relational victimization and risk-taking behavior in elementary schoolchildren, and the potential moderating role of the classroom norm salience toward risk-taking. We expected that relationally victimized children would show an increase in risk-taking behavior in classrooms that are unfavorable toward risk-taking as a way to provoke and act against the classroom norm. However, alternatively, relationally victimized children could show an increase in risk-taking behavior in classrooms that are favorable toward risk-taking as a way to fortify the feeling of belonging to the classroom. Participants were 1,009 children (50% boys) in 69 classrooms of 13 mainstream elementary schools, followed annually across ages 7–11 (Grade 1–5). Risk-taking was assessed using the Balloon Analogue Risk Task. Relational victimization was assessed using teacher reports. The classroom norm salience toward risk-taking was based on the within-classroom correlation of risk-taking with children’s social preference score among peers. Results from multilevel modeling showed that there was no significant main effect of relational victimization on risk-taking behavior. However, the classroom norm salience toward risk-taking significantly moderated the effect of relational victimization on risk-taking. Relational victimization was related to relative increases in risk-taking when classroom norms were unfavorable toward risk-taking. In classrooms where risk-taking was favored, relational victimization was related to relative decreases in risk-taking. These findings suggest that children who are relationally victimized may engage in norm-defying behavior in their classroom. Implications for further research are discussed.
... Some of the findings in this study may be explained by classroom contextual factors such as the ethnic composition and prevailing classroom norms (Veenstra et al. 2018). In classrooms with prominent ethnic boundaries, adolescents may be prone to the risk cross-ethnic aggression poses to their in-group identity. ...
Article
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Whereas previous research suggests that adolescents’ aggressive behavior in itself does not highlight ethnic boundaries, it remains unclear whether classmates’ responses to same- and cross-ethnic aggression strengthen ethnic boundaries. This study examined how adolescents’ aggression toward same- and cross-ethnic peers relates to the positive (friendship) and negative (rejection) relationship nominations they receive from same- and cross-ethnic classmates. Cross-sectional peer nomination data on 917 Dutch and 125 Turkish adolescents in 56 secondary schools were analyzed (mean age = 14.9 year; 51.4% boys). Adolescents received more friendship nominations from same-ethnic than from cross-ethnic classmates, but were not more rejected by cross-ethnic than same-ethnic classmates. Multilevel Poisson and negative binomial regression models showed that, irrespective of aggressor’s ethnic background, adolescents’ aggressive behavior was related to rejection by classmates from the ethnic group that was the target of aggression and to being befriended by classmates from the ethnic group that was not the target of aggression. Specifically, both Dutch and Turkish adolescents who were aggressive toward Dutch peers were rejected by Dutch classmates and befriended by Turkish classmates and vice versa. These findings suggest that classmates’ positive and negative responses to adolescents are related to adolescents’ aggressive behavior based on the ethnic background of the victim, not on the ethnic background of the aggressor. This suggests that integration between ethnic groups in schools relates to aggression in general, not only cross-ethnic aggression.
... Longitudinal social network analysis allows to separate selection and influence processes by estimating how both processes contribute to the observed similarity among connected students (Veenstra & Steglich, 2012). Many social network studies using stochastic actor-based models have separated selection and influence processes, for example, for school performance, substance use (alcohol, tobacco, drugs), internalizing problems (anxiety, depression, loneliness), and externalizing problems (aggression, delinquency), of which an overview can be found elsewhere ( Veenstra et al., 2018;Veenstra et al., 2013). Many of these behaviors can be seen as individual characteristics. ...
... Norms and behavior are under development at the age of pre-adolescence and adolescence (Veenstra, Dijkstra, & Kreager, 2017). Therefore adolescence is an important stage of human life, in which rules of the game are learnt, practiced, and sometimes enforced to exaggeration (Coleman, 1961(Coleman, , 1961). ...
Chapter
Adolescence is an important age of development when collective norms emerge, social exclusion often takes place, and competition for reputation is relatively intense. Negative gossip is used with increasing intentionality to interfere in these processes. At the same time, being the object of negative gossip undermines chances to obtain good reputation. This chapter reviews the role of gossiping in the formation of informal status relations of adolescents. It provides an overview of theoretical explanations and empirical findings on how reputation and gossip are related with a special focus on the school context. It presents recent methodological advancements of social network methods used for analyzing the complex interrelated dynamics of gossip, reputation, and peer relations among adolescents. As an illustration, the chapter shows that malicious gossip leads to disdain while disdain induces malicious gossip in a longitudinal analysis of Hungarian secondary school classes. Finally, it discusses the theoretical and practical implications of our illustrative analysis and formulate suggestions for future research.
... ERI content refers to how central and positive one feels about one's ERI and can be differentiated from ERI process, which refers to how one's ERI is explored, formed, and maintained (Umaña-Taylor et al., 2014). During adolescence, peers become increasingly important reference points for shaping development and exert social influence on a broad range of attitudes and behaviors (Veenstra, Dijkstra, & Kreager, 2018). Accordingly, scholars have long argued that peers influence identity development in early adolescence (Erikson, 1968;Phinney, 1990). ...
Article
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Recent research has shown that peers influence ethnic-racial identity (ERI) development during early adolescence. Arguments based on social identity theory (SIT), however, suggest that only same-ethnic but not cross-ethnic friends are important for ERI development. Using longitudinal social network analysis, we examined peer influence of both same- and cross-ethnic friends on ERI attachment and private regard. Data were drawn from six ethnically diverse schools in Western Germany (N = 1,349; Mage = 13.3). Our results provide empirical evidence for early adolescents’ ERI being influenced by same- but less by cross-ethnic friends. Considering peers’ ethnicity therefore is crucial for understanding peer influence on ERI development.
... These authors observed that high-achieving students were more likely to become friends with high-achieving students, indicating that academic performance could be improved by changing friendship relationships. Veenstra et al. (2018) used SNA to study the influence of friend relationships on adolescent behavior and demonstrated that friendship plays an important role in shaping adolescent academic achievement and risky behavior. Kassarnig et al. (2018) studied the social network of 538 undergraduates from smart phone data and discovered that network indicators could better reflect the academic performance of students than individual characteristics and that the network has a strong peer effect. ...
Preprint
Analyzing and mining students' behaviors and interactions from big data is an essential part of education data mining. Based on the data of campus smart cards, which include not only static demographic information but also dynamic behavioral data from more than 30000 anonymous students, in this paper, the evolution features of friendship and the relations between behavior characters and student interactions are investigated. On the one hand, four different evolving friendship networks are constructed by means of the friend ties proposed in this paper, which are extracted from monthly consumption records. In addition, the features of the giant connected components (GCCs) of friendship networks are analyzed via social network analysis (SNA) and percolation theory. On the other hand, two high-level behavior characters, orderliness and diligence, are adopted to analyze their associations with student interactions. Our experiment/empirical results indicate that the sizes of friendship networks have declined with time growth and both the small-world effect and power-law degree distribution are found in friendship networks. Second, the results of the assortativity coefficient of both orderliness and diligence verify that there are strong peer effects among students. Finally, the percolation analysis of orderliness on friendship networks shows that a phase transition exists, which is enlightening in that swarm intelligence can be realized by intervening the key students near the transition point.
... Drawing on recent advances in conceptualizing and testing the role of peer network dynamics for behavior development (Veenstra, Dijkstra, Steglich, & Van Zalk, 2013;Veenstra, Dijkstra, & Kreager, 2018), we updated and tested the confluence model by examining co-evolving developmental trajectories of peer rejection and AB in the context of peer network dynamics. The peer network dynamics perspective and its corresponding US high schoolers, adolescents changed their levels of delinquency to become similar to their friends (Jose et al., 2015). ...
Article
The confluence model theorizes that dynamic transactions between peer rejection and deviant peer clustering amplify antisocial behavior (AB) within the school context during adolescence. Little is known about the links between peer rejection and AB as embedded in changing networks. Using longitudinal social network analysis, we investigated the interplay between rejection, deviant peer clustering, and AB in an ethnically diverse sample of students attending public middle schools (N = 997; 52.7% boys). Adolescents completed peer nomination reports of rejection and antisocial behavior in Grades 6–8. Results revealed that rejection status was associated with friendship selection, and adolescents became rejected if they were friends with others who were rejected. Youth befriended others with similar levels of AB. Significant patterns of peer influence were documented for AB and rejection. As hypothesized, rejected youth with low AB were more likely to affiliate with others with high AB instead of similarly low AB. In contrast, nonrejected youth preferred to befriend others with similarly high or low AB. Results support an updated confluence model of a joint interplay between rejection and AB as ecological conditions that lead to self-organization into deviant clusters in which peer contagion on problem behaviors operates.
... Whereas experiments investigated the direct influence of perceived norms on adolescents' (willingness to show) behaviors, norms can also be seen as a contextual factor enhancing the salience of a certain attribute for friendship selection and influence processes. These peer norms can be descriptive norms, referring to the typical behavior in a group, injunctive norms, referring to the approval of behavior in a group, and popularity norms, referring to the extent to which certain behaviors are associated with popularity in a group (Veenstra et al., 2018). Research that examined peer norms as context for peer selection and influence processes found that the norms of popular peers (popularity norms) rather than the norms of all peers (descriptive norms) enhanced friendship influence on risk attitudes and aggression (Laninga-Wijnen et al., 2017). ...
Chapter
Full-text available
Peers gain heightened significance during adolescence. Youth organize themselves into peer networks that reflect clusters of social relationships, and these social networks play a prominent role in youth's risk behaviors, internalizing symptoms, and adaptive behaviors. Remarkably, youth are often quite similar to their friends, which can be because of selection and influence processes. Whereas selection refers to the process where adolescents cluster with peers based on pre-existing similarities in behaviors, attitudes, or values, influence occurs when adolescents adjust their behaviors, attitudes, or values to those of their peers. Similarity-based selection may occur through preferential attraction, default selection, and repulsion, whereas influence toward similarity may occur through mutual encouragement, imitation, peer pressure, and conformity. Most evidence has been found for selection based on preferential attraction, and influence based on imitation and norms of popular peers. Individual, dyadic, and contextual factors contributing to variations between adolescents in openness to peer influence are discussed, as well as directions for further research.
... Therefore, bidirectional associations should be included in future study designs. Finally, we did not include a measure of peer norms, which reflect the expected and accepted behavior of a social group (Veenstra et al., 2018). Because the display of aggressive and prosocial behaviors might depend on conformity to the peer context (Laninga-Wijnen et al., 2017;Wentzel et al., 2007), researchers may wish to consider the role of social norms. ...
Article
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This study examined the differential effects of two forms of adolescents' perceptions of peers' prosociality, aggression , and popularity, on friendship selection. Individuals' reports of their peers' behaviors (dyadic perceptions) and the aggregated classmates' reports (reputational perceptions) were disentangled. The findings indicated that adolescents were more likely to befriend classmates widely perceived as prosocial (reputational perception) and were less likely to befriend classmates they perceived as aggressive (dyadic perception). For popularity, the effect of dyadic perception disappeared when including the reputational perception. The findings highlight the differences between the dyadic and reputational perceptions of peer behavior. Not only dyadic perceptions of behaviors but also reputational perceptions exert a role in befriending peers.
... Even though most of this research has been carried out in the US (Bukowski, Laursen & Rubin, 2019) and Europe (see Gremmen et al., 2019;Veenstra, Dijkstra, & Kraeger, 2018), a growing body of research shows similar findings in Latin American societies Molano, Jones, Brown, & Aber, 2013) and particularly in Chile (Berger & Caravita, 2016;Palacios, Berger, Luengo-Kanacri, Dijkstra, & Veenstra, 2019), suggesting that these processes are normative within adolescent peer ecologies. ...
... First, besides prosocial attitudes, achievement, and gender, other characteristics could play a role in the formation of friendship and help-seeking relationships. For instance, students' gender, ethnicity, and personality could impact friendship and help-seeking relationship formation, but also the broader peer context such as the prevailing norms in the peer group and the social status of students (Choudry et al. 2017;Dijkstra et al. 2010Dijkstra et al. , 2013Thielmann et al. 2020;Van Rijsewijk et al. 2016;Veenstra et al. 2018). Future research should consider investigating these other factors in relation to peer networks in university. ...
Article
Full-text available
After the transition to university, students need to build a new peer network, which helps them to adapt to university life. This study investigated to what extent students’ prosocial attitudes and academic achievement facilitate the embeddedness in friendship and help-seeking networks, while taking structural network characteristics into account. Participants were 95 first-year bachelor’s degree students and were part of learning communities consisting of 12 students at a university in the Netherlands. Measures included student-reports of prosocial attitudes, peer nominations of friendship and help-seeking networks, and officially registered grades (GPA). Longitudinal social network analysis, stochastic actor-based modeling with the package RSiena, revealed that both students’ own prosocial attitudes and achievement played a role in their friendship formation, whereas only students’ own achievement made the formation of their help-seeking relationships more likely. When students were friends, it was more likely that they approached each other for help and vice versa. Similarity in achievement level contributed to relationship formation in friendship and help-seeking networks. Overall, the results underscore the importance of both student’ prosocial attitudes and achievement for their social adjustment (i.e., making friends) and only achievement for their academic adjustment (i.e., seeking help) during the first year of university within the context of small-scale teaching.
... Theory and evidence suggest that gender-linked social tasks, preferences for dyadic versus larger groups of friends, and social anxiety need to be more explicitly considered in research regarding the dynamics of adolescent friendships. Indeed, developmental research has used longitudinal SNA methods to illuminate how adolescents construct their friendship networks and are influenced by their friends on an array of developmental outcomes (e.g., Veenstra et al., 2013Veenstra et al., , 2018. A recent systematic review appraised this progress across 16 empirical investigations of peer selection and influence on depressive symptoms and four studies of network dynamics regarding social anxiety (Neal & Veenstra, 2021). ...
Article
Full-text available
Drawing on a developmental psychopathology perspective and research documenting gender differences in social tasks and structures of friendships, this study uses longitudinal social network analysis (SNA) methods to (a) examine how fear of negative evaluation (FNE) and gender interact to shape friendship dynamics and (b) characterize their distinct roles in how adolescents make new friends, keep existing friends, and become similar to one another over time. Participants were 1,034 sixth through eighth grade students from an ethnically diverse middle school who were assessed in the Fall and Spring of the same academic year. Results showed that girls were more likely to make new friends and maintain existing friendships when they had lower levels of FNE. Conversely, boys were more likely to make new friends and keep existing friends when they had higher levels of FNE. Additionally, girls with low levels of FNE were more likely to maintain friendships with others who also had low FNE levels, whereas boys with high levels of FNE were more likely to maintain friendships with friends who had low levels of FNE. Results also showed significant peer influence effects on FNE such that over time friends became similar to one another on their FNE levels, with no significant gender differences in these processes. The study underscored that FNE appeared to amplify gender differences in how adolescents tend to make and maintain their friendship networks, yet peer influence on FNE levels remained of the same strength for boys and girls. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved).
... Many social network studies using stochastic actor-based models have separated selection and influence processes for externalizing problems (aggression, delinquency), internalizing problems (anxiety, depression, loneliness), substance use (drinking, smoking, marijuana use), and school behavior (for overviews see: Veenstra, Dijkstra, & Kreager, 2018;Veenstra et al., 2013). ...
Chapter
Full-text available
Social network research is the way to examine bullying as a group process. Cross-sectional network studies allow us to examine who bullies whom or who defends whom, as well as the agreement on these dyadic relationships. Longitudinal network studies allow us to particularly examine selection and influence processes. The longitudinal studies with the most power have shown that selection and influence processes play a role for bullies. For victims, selection and influence processes have been found in adolescence (secondary education), but not in childhood (elementary education). Social network dynamics in bullying and victimization can also be linked to research on the impact of social norms or the evaluation of an intervention. Recent studies have also started to examine interdependencies between multiple positive and negative relationships. Most social network research on bullying and victimization has been done in late childhood or early adolescence. A few studies, however, have shown that it is also feasible to examine network-behavior dynamics at younger ages. Further research is necessary on whether and how individuals in a network, relationship patterns, or the entire network structure can be targeted by interventions.
... Many social network studies using stochastic actor-based models have separated selection and influence processes for externalizing problems (aggression, delinquency), internalizing problems (anxiety, depression, loneliness), substance use (drinking, smoking, marijuana use), and school behavior (for overviews see: Veenstra, Dijkstra, & Kreager, 2018;Veenstra et al., 2013). ...
Preprint
Social network research is the way to examine bullying as a group process. Cross-sectional network studies allow us to examine who bullies whom or who defends whom, as well as the agreement on these dyadic relationships. Longitudinal network studies allow us to particularly examine selection and influence processes. The longitudinal studies with the most power have shown that selection and influence processes play a role for bullies. For victims, selection and influence processes have been found in adolescence (secondary education), but not in childhood (elementary education). Social network dynamics in bullying and victimization can also be linked to research on the impact of social norms or the evaluation of an intervention. Recent studies have also started to examine interdependencies between multiple positive and negative relationships. Most social network research on bullying and victimization has been done in late childhood or early adolescence. A few studies, however, have shown that it is also feasible to examine network-behavior dynamics at younger ages. Further research is necessary on whether and how individuals in a network, relationship patterns, or the entire network structure can be targeted by interventions.
... Adolescents may adopt the behavior of popular peers precisely because they aim to achieve the social status those peers hold. Popularity has been widely found to be associated with various antisocial behaviors at this age, when rebellious rule-breaking may attain visibility and prestige in the group, with the added perception of greater agency and independence (Veenstra et al., 2018). In fact, it has been evidenced the relation between popularity and bullying perpetration at these ages. ...
Article
Full-text available
Precursors and consequences of bullying have been widely explored, but much remains unclear about the association of moral and motivational factors. This study examined longitudinal associations between need for popularity, moral disengagement, and bullying perpetration. A total of 3017 participants, aged 11 to 16 years in wave 1 (49% girls; M age = 13.15, SD = 1.09), were surveyed across four waves with six-month intervals. At the between-person level, cross-lagged modeling revealed a positive bidirectional association between moral disengagement and need for popularity; bullying perpetration was predicted by both need for popularity and moral disengagement. From the within-person level, random intercept cross-lagged analyses revealed that need for popularity predicted both moral disengagement and bullying perpetration. The results highlight the interplay between motivational and moral mechanisms that underlies bullying behavior.
... The term 'peers' was introduced as 'all pupils in an institution, both classmates of the same class and students from other classes.' Peer influence was explained in the following way: 'We assume that children and adolescents are influenced by their peers when they change their behaviour due to their peers or acquire a new behaviour' (Hartup 2005;Veenstra, Dijkstra, and Kreager 2018). Clarifications were given when questions arose. ...
Article
Evidence suggests the social development of typically developing children and adolescents is significantly influenced by their peers. In contrast, little is known about peer influence on the autistic behaviours of children and adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). In structured interviews, 22 teachers from a special needs school for students with ASD provided information on observed peer influence frequency in 23 children and adolescents (age M = 9.96 years; SD = 3.50; 2 girls). Across 12 autistic behaviours, teachers estimated that in a typical school week on M = 0.75 days (SD = 0.59) they observe students with ASD changing their autistic behaviour in response to their peers. Observed peer influence varied across behavioural domains and there was a tendency for increased severity of autistic condition to be associated with less peer influence susceptibility. Findings are discussed in relation to perspectives for supporting students with ASD and future research.
Article
Bullying victimization has been linked to an elevated risk of both internalizing and externalizing problems, yet the mechanisms underlying these associations, especially from the perspective of naturally occurring informal cliques, are not well understood. Based on two contrasting hypotheses from the healthy context paradox and the peer contagion hypothesis, the current 2-year longitudinal study (a) investigated the interaction effects of individual victimization (i.e., physical, verbal, and relational forms) and clique victimization norms on their reactive-proactive aggression and (b) examined whether they were distinct to these effects on depressive symptoms. Both self-reported and peer-nominated surveys were administrated to 691 junior high school students (55.6% boys; Mage = 12.74, SD = 0.43 years) who were identified from 153 cliques (Msize = 5.08, SD = 1.89) using a social cognitive map, at two time points 2 years apart. Multilevel modeling indicated that both physical and relational victims (except verbal victims) at baseline committed more reactive forms of aggression (not proactive forms) in cliques with lower victimization norms 2 years later. Similarly, physical victims in lower-victimization cliques reported more depressive symptoms 2 years later. Additionally, these significant results were found in self-reported forms of victimization, but not peer-nominated forms. These findings confirm the healthy context paradox in both individual internalizing and externalizing problems in clique contexts, and elaborate this paradox on different forms of victimization, which provide a more nuanced understanding and have important implications in the field of anti-bullying interventions.
Chapter
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Peer relationships are prominent when children move into adolescence. Peer research has been motivated by an interest in understanding where peer interactions and relationships come from and how these experiences affect multiple aspects of positive and negative development. Peer research continues to provide insight in how adolescents strive for status and affection, how adolescents are connected to their peers, and how peers influence and select each other. Recent advances show the importance of considering variations between contexts (such as classrooms) in these peer processes. Selection and influence processes vary strongly between classrooms, and in particular popular peers set a norm for what behaviors are important for friendship selection and influence processes. Moreover, some contexts may elicit exacerbated social comparison processes, which may explain why certain individuals have academic or psychosocial maladjustment in some contexts but not in others. The avenues for further research offer researchers several opportunities to diversify and expand into new areas of inquiry among adolescents and young adults.
Article
Socialization among aggressive friends is believed to play a critical role in the development of aggressive behavior. This study examined the moderating effect of norm salience in the classroom on the association between reciprocal friends’ and children’s own physical, relational, and general aggression. A total of 713 children (M = 10.32 years, SD = 0.99) in grades 4 to 6 completed a peer nomination inventory in the fall and spring of the same academic year. Norm salience was operationalized as the class- and sex-specific correlation between each form of aggression and social preference. Norm salience moderated relational aggression socialization among friends only for highly relationally aggressive girls. Specifically, socialization was exacerbated when norm salience was favorable and attenuated when norm salience was unfavorable, suggesting that highly relationally aggressive girls may possess skills allowing them to adapt to the social context in which they and their friends interact. In contrast, boys’ general aggression socialization was exacerbated when norm salience was neutral or unfavorable, suggesting that boys who affiliate with aggressive friends may be more susceptible to aggressive friends’ influence in general and especially in the context of potential peer rejection. No moderating effect of norm salience was found in regards to physical aggression socialization. Results suggest that interventions aimed at changing acceptability of aggression in the classroom may only be effective in specific subgroups of aggressive youth.
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Adolescents are frequently faced with decisions characterized by an affective component, such as those that take place among peers or include the promise of a reward. In such situations both cognitive and affective control are necessary for optimal decision making. A lack of either can contribute to risk-taking behaviors and social vulnerability. In light of this, the current chapter reviews the state of research on how adolescents with intellectual disability (ID) make affective decisions, with a special focus on the role of peers.
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Analyzing and mining students’ behaviors and interactions from big data is an essential part of education data mining. Based on the data of campus smart cards, which include not only static demographic information but also dynamic behavioral data from more than 30000 anonymous students, in this paper, the evolution features of friendship and the relations between behavior characters and student interactions are investigated. On the one hand, four different evolving friendship networks are constructed by means of the friend ties proposed in this paper, which are extracted from monthly consumption records. In addition, the features of the giant connected components (GCCs) of friendship networks are analyzed via social network analysis (SNA) and percolation theory. On the other hand, two high-level behavior characters, orderliness and diligence, are adopted to analyze their associations with student interactions. Our experiment/empirical results indicate that the sizes of friendship networks have declined with time growth and both the small-world effect and power-law degree distribution are found in friendship networks. Second, the results of the assortativity coefficient of both orderliness and diligence verify that there are strong peer effects among students. Finally, the percolation analysis of orderliness on friendship networks shows that a phase transition exists, which is enlightening in that swarm intelligence can be realized by intervening the key students near the transition point.
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This article reviews empirical evidence from two research perspectives to clarify the role of deviant (i.e., aggressive, antisocial, substance using) peers in regard to the development of externalizing problems (i.e., aggression, antisocial behavior, substance use) during childhood and adolescence. The first perspective—the Socialization model—rests on one-child-per-family studies and is non-genetically-sensitive. Empirical evidence from this perspective suggests that deviant peers have a main effect on the development of youth's externalizing problems. However, this main effect is often moderated by a host of personal or environmental factors. The second perspective—the Facilitation model—rests on genetically sensitive studies. With some exceptions, this second perspective views deviant peers as moderators of personal liability toward externalizing problems. The conclusion offers future directions for research and practical applications for educators and clinicians.
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Research has documented the presence of norm misperception in the context of school bullying, as children and adolescents typically underestimate the degree to which their peers disapprove of bullying behavior. Despite commonly held attitudes in opposition to bullies and in support of helping victims, widespread misperception of the norm makes students vulnerable to acting in a manner that reinforces bullying, as they aim to align themselves with perceived peer beliefs. This study investigated whether personalized normative feedback, a social norms intervention that juxtaposes individuals’ own perceptions of peer norms against their peers’ true normative values, could operate as a mechanism by which to reduce norm misperception of peer attitudes toward bullying. Whereas this type of intervention has shown promising effects in a variety of contexts, no study to date has examined its utility in the specific context of bullying. Baseline participants included 188 seventh grade students, 175 of whom were randomized into four study groups for follow-up data collection. Individuals in the experimental condition received personalized normative feedback on attitudes toward bullying. Control conditions were the following: general normative feedback on anti-bullying attitudes, the absence of normative feedback, and personalized normative feedback on a construct separate from bullying (i.e., antidrug use attitudes). Findings indicated that personalized normative feedback on bullying attitudes led to significant change in perceived peer attitudes in the direction of the group norm, with an effect size in the small-to-medium range. No intervention effects emerged on personal attitude change. Implications highlight strategies for improving the strength of similar interventions in future research as well as the positive clinical outcomes that could result from reduced norm misperception and increased engagement in prosocial bystander behavior.
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This study was conducted to determine the predictive effect of the features (scale scores) related to the factors that affect social exclusion, friendship quality, social competence and emotional management skills in adolescents on adolescent problem behaviors such as smoking, alcohol use, unhappiness, hopelessness and self-harm behaviors. This research was carried out on 422 students studying at 9 th , 10 th and 11 th grades in 11 high schools randomly selected among the state Anatolian high schools of Kadıköy with the permission of Istanbul Governorship MNE No: 59090411-20-E.4519169 dated 21.04.2016. Data were collected through Social Exclusion, Friendship Quality, Social Competence and Emotional Management Scales and personal information form prepared by the researcher. The data were analyzed with SPSS 23 statistical software, two-way ANOVA (univariate) and logistic regression techniques. The findings showed that on the features related to social exclusion, social competence, friendship quality and emotional management skills, the following were effective: having smoker friends, having friends with negative behaviors towards others, dissatisfaction with physical appearance, perception of self-efficacy, getting along with friends, being sensitive towards daily events, having smoker family members and alcohol use the family, experiencing less economic problems in the family and participating in activities such as cinema with the family. The quality of friendship intimacy had an increasing effect on smoking and alcohol use, while the security dimension had a reducing effect on alcohol use, feeling unhappy, feeling hopeless and self-harm (bodily damage). The social exclusion, emotional management and coping with the problem dimensions had a diminishing effect on alcohol use, while negative emotions and the ability to control negative bodily reactions had a diminishing effect on self-harm behaviors. The findings suggest that, especially emotional management skills, friendship quality and social exclusion are dynamics that can determine the psycho-social risk susceptibility of adolescents. The results of the research reveal the importance of getting adolescents to gain the skills to manage friendship selection and friendship relations through studies aimed at supporting the emotional development of adolescents.
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Social norms are vital for the functioning of adolescent peer groups; they can protect the well-being of groups and individual members, often by deterring harmful behaviors, such as aggression, through enforcement mechanisms like peer victimization; in adolescent peer groups, those who violate aggression norms are often subject to victimization. However, adolescents are nested within several levels of peer group contexts, ranging from small proximal groups, to larger distal groups, and social norms operate within each. This study assessed whether there are differences in the enforcement of aggression norms at different levels. Self-report and peer-nomination data were collected four times over the course of a school year from 1,454 early adolescents ( M age = 10.27; 53.9% boys) from Bogota, Colombia. Multilevel modeling provided support for social regulation of both physical aggression and relational aggression via peer victimization, as a function of gender, grade-level, proximal (friend) or distal (class) injunctive norms of aggression (perceptions of group-level attitudes), and descriptive norms of aggression. Overall, violation of proximal norms appears to be more powerfully enforced by adolescent peer groups. The findings are framed within an ecological systems theory of adolescent peer relationships.
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Research has established that adolescents both befriend peers based on their academic achievement and adjust their own achievement to that of their friends’ over time. However, these processes may be different for ethnic minority students, because some of them may adhere to an oppositional culture that rejects striving for academic success. We examine respective differences between self-identified ethnic minority and majority students using longitudinal social network analysis (stochastic actor-oriented models) in a sample of 1175 students (aged 13) from 12 grade-level networks in Germany secondary schools. Among the students, we find that academically successful students in particular prefer friends with high grades, but that students with poor grades exert more social influence on their friends to adjust their performance. Moreover, while minority students are indeed less inclined to select friends with higher grades, both ethnic majority and minority youth prefer friends with similar academic achievement and are similarly influenced by their friends’ achievement. However, social influence is stronger from same-ethnic than from inter-ethnic friends. In sum, there is mixed evidence for an oppositional culture among ethnic minority students in our sample.
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This study concerns peer selection and influence dynamics in early adolescents' friendships regarding academic achievement. Using longitudinal social network analysis (RSiena), both selection and influence processes were investigated for students' average grades and their cluster-specific grades (i.e., language, exact, and social cluster). Data were derived from the SNARE (Social Network Analysis of Risk behavior in Early adolescence) study, using 6 waves (N = 601; Mage = 12.66, 48.9% boys at first wave). Results showed developmental differences between the first and second year of secondary school (seventh and eighth grade). Whereas selection processes were found in the first year on students' cluster-specific grades, influence processes were found in the second year, on both students' average and cluster-specific grades. These results suggest that students initially tend to select friends on the basis of similar cluster-based grades (first year), showing that similarity in achievement is attractive for friendships. Especially for low-achieving students, similar-achieving students were highly attractive as friends, whereas they were mostly avoided by high-achieving students. Influence processes on academic achievement take place later on (second year), when students know each other better, indicating that students' grades become more similar over time in response to their connectedness. Concluding, this study shows the importance of developmental differences and specific school subjects for understanding peer selection and influence processes in adolescents' academic achievement. (PsycINFO Database Record
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This study examined whether peer norms for aggression within the classroom impact friendship selection, maintenance, and socialization processes related to aggression across the 1st year of secondary school (N = 1,134 students from 51 classes, Mage = 12.66). As hypothesized, longitudinal social network analyses indicated that friendship selection and influence processes related to aggression depended on the popularity norm within the classroom (i.e., the class-level association between popularity and aggression) rather than the descriptive norm (aggregated average of aggressive behavior). Hence, only in classes where the valence of aggression is high (because it is positively associated with popularity), adolescents tend to select their friends based on similarity in aggression and adopt the aggressive behavior of their friends.
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This research investigated how the level of disruptive behavior and friend influence on disruptive behavior varies across classrooms in relation to teacher emotional support. Data were collected from 48 fifth- and sixth-grade classrooms (N=879 students) and included classroom observations at Wave 1 and student-reports of their friends and disruptive behavior at Waves 1 and 2 (fall and spring of the school year, about six months apart). In the fall there were no differences in the level of disruptive behavior between classes that were low versus high in teacher emotional support. However, by spring, disruptive behavior was higher in classes with low teacher emotional support compared to classes high in teacher emotional support. Social network analyses, conducted with stochastic actor-based models, indicated that students were more likely to become similar to their friends in regards to disruptive behavior in classes low in teacher emotional support compared to classes high in teacher emotional support. Thus, the level of disruptive behavior and students’ susceptibility to friend influence on disruptive behavior depends on the nature of the classroom context. This study contributes to a growing body of research showing that teachers play an important role in shaping the nature of peer relationships in the classroom.
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In this study, the associations between peer effects and academic functioning in middle adolescence (N = 342; 14–15 years old; 48% male) were investigated longitudinally. Similarity in achievement (grade point averages) and unexplained absences (truancy) was explained by both peer selection and peer influence, net of acceptance , and connectedness. Friendships were formed and maintained when adolescents had low levels of achievement or high levels of truancy. Friends influenced one another to increase rather than decrease in achievement and truancy. Moreover, friends' popularity moderated peer influences in truancy in reciprocal friendships but not in unilateral friendships, whereas friends' acceptance moderated peer influences in achievement in both unilateral and reciprocal friendships. The findings illustrate the dynamic interplay between peer effects and academic functioning.
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Evidence for the risks of psychopathic personality traits for adolescent antisocial behavior are well documented in the literature. Little is known, however, about who the peers of adolescents with these traits are and to what extent they influence one another. In the current study, three dimensions of psychopathic traits were distinguished: grandiose–manipulative traits, callous–unemotional traits, and impulsive–irresponsible traits. A dynamic social network approach was used with three waves of longitudinal data from 1,772 adolescents (51.1% girls, M age = 13.03 at first measurement). Results showed that adolescents with grandiose–manipulative and callous–unemotional traits formed peer relationships with adolescents who had low self-esteem. Furthermore, peers' violence predicted stronger increases in violence for adolescents with low self-esteem than for other adolescents, and peers' violence predicted stronger increases in adolescent violence for peers with high psychopathic traits than for other peers. Thus, findings indicate that adolescents with low self-esteem are vulnerable to deviant peer influence from peers with psychopathic traits.
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Partnership ties shape friendship networks through different social forces. First, partnership ties drive clustering in friendship networks: individuals who are in a partnership tend to have common friends and befriend other couples. Second, partnership ties influence the level of homophily in these emerging friendship clusters. Partners tend to be similar in a number of attributes (homogamy). If one partner selects friends based on preferences for homophily, then the other partner may befriend the same person regardless of whether they also have homophilic preferences. Thus, two homophilic ties emerge based on a single partner's preferences. This amplification of homophily can be observed in many attributes (e.g., ethnicity, religion, age). Gender homophily, however, may be de-amplified, as the gender of partners differs in heterosexual partnerships. In our study, we follow dynamic friendship formation among 126 individuals and their cohabiting partners in a university-related graduate housing community over a period of nine months (N = 2,250 self-reported friendship relations). We find that partnership ties strongly shape the dynamic process of friendship formation. They are a main driver of local network clustering and explain a striking amount of homophily.
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The present study examined whether adolescent friendships dissolve because of characteristics of friends, differences between friends, or both. Participants were 410 adolescents (201 boys, 209 girls; mean age = 13.20 years) who reported a total of 573 reciprocated friendships that originated in the seventh grade. We conducted discrete-time survival analyses, in which peer nominations and teacher ratings collected in Grade 7 predicted the occurrence and timing of friendship dissolution across Grades 8 to 12. Grade 7 individual characteristics were unrelated to friendship stability, but Grade 7 differences in sex, peer acceptance, physical aggression, and school competence predicted subsequent friendship dissolution. The findings suggest that compatibility is a function of similarity between friends rather than the presence or absence of a particular trait. © The Author(s) 2015.
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Objectives One explanation for the increase in delinquency in adolescence is that young people are trapped in the so-called maturity gap: the discrepancy between biological and social maturation, which motivates them to engage in delinquency as a temporary means to bridge this gap by emphasizing their maturity. In the current study, we investigated to what extent the discrepancy between pubertal status (i.e., biological maturation) and autonomy in decision making (i.e., social maturation) is related to conflict with parents, which in turn predicts increasing levels of delinquency as well as substance use. Methods Hypotheses were tested by means of path models in a longitudinal sample of adolescent boys and girls ( N = 1,844; M age 13.02) from the Social Network Analyses of Risk behaviors in Early adolescence (SNARE) study using a one-year time interval. Results Results indicate that biological maturation in interaction with social maturation predict conflict with parents, which in turn was related to higher levels of delinquency and substance use over time. No gender differences were found. Conclusions These findings reveal that conflict with parents is an important mechanism, linking the interplay of biological and social maturation with delinquency and substance use in early adolescence for boys and girls.
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Research has found that prejudiced people avoid friendships with members of ethnic outgroups. Results of this study suggest that this effect is mediated by a social network process. Longitudinal network analysis of a three-wave panel study of 12- to 13-year-olds (N = 453) found that more prejudiced majority group members formed fewer intergroup friendships than less prejudiced majority group members. This was caused indirectly by the preference to become friends of one’s friends’ friends (triadic closure). More prejudiced majority members did not have a preference for actively avoiding minority group members. Rather, they had the tendency to avoid friends who already had minority group friends and thus could not be introduced to potential minority group friends. Instead they became friends with the majority group friends of their friends. This research shows how a social networks perspective can further our understanding of the processes underlying intergroup contact.
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One way to think about social context is as a sample of alters. To understand individual action, therefore, it matters greatly where these alters may be coming from, and how they are connected. According to one vision, connections among alters induce local dependencies—emergent rules of social interaction that generate endogenously the observed network structure of social settings. Social selection is the decision of interest in this perspective. According to a second vision, social settings are collections of social foci—physical or symbolic locales where actors meet. Because alters are more likely to be drawn from focused sets, shared social foci are frequently considered as the main generators of network ties, and hence of setting structure. Affiliation to social foci is the decision of central interest in this second view. In this paper we show how stochastic actor–oriented models (SAOMs) originally derived for studying the dynamics of multiple networks may be adopted to represent and examine these interconnected systems of decisions (selection and affiliation) within a unified analytical framework. We illustrate the empirical value of the model in the context of a longitudinal sample of adolescent participating in the Glasgow Teenage Friends and Lifestyle Study. Social selection decisions are examined in the context of networks of friendship relations. The analysis treats musical genres as the main social foci of interest.
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The proximity of dating partners in peer friendship networks has important implications for the diffusion of health-risk behaviors and adolescent social development. We derive two competing hypotheses for the friendship–romance association. The first predicts that daters are proximally positioned in friendship networks prior to dating and that opposite-gender friends are likely to transition to dating. The second predicts that dating typically crosses group boundaries and opposite-gender friends are unlikely to later date. We test these hypotheses with longitudinal friendship data for 626 ninth-grade PROSPER heterosexual dating couples. Results primarily support the second hypothesis: Romantic partners are unlikely to be friends in the previous year or share the same cohesive subgroup, and opposite-gender friends are unlikely to transition to dating.
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Researchers have examined selection and influence processes in shaping delinquency similarity among friends, but little is known about the role of gender in moderating these relationships. Our objective is to examine differences between adolescent boys and girls regarding delinquency-based selection and influence processes. Using longitudinal network data from adolescents attending two large schools in AddHealth (N = 1,857) and stochastic actor-oriented models, we evaluate whether girls are influenced to a greater degree by friends’ violence or delinquency than boys (influence hypothesis) and whether girls are more likely to select friends based on violent or delinquent behavior than boys (selection hypothesis). The results indicate that girls are more likely than boys to be influenced by their friends’ involvement in violence. Although a similar pattern emerges for nonviolent delinquency, the gender differences are not significant. Some evidence shows that boys are influenced toward increasing their violence or delinquency when exposed to more delinquent or violent friends but are immune to reducing their violence or delinquency when associating with less violent or delinquent friends. In terms of selection dynamics, although both boys and girls have a tendency to select friends based on friends’ behavior, girls have a stronger tendency to do so, suggesting that among girls, friends’ involvement in violence or delinquency is an especially decisive factor for determining friendship ties.
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Researchers have become increasingly interested in disentangling selection and influence processes. This literature review provides context for the special issue on network–behavior dynamics. It brings together important conceptual, methodological, and empirical contributions focusing on longitudinal social network modeling. First, an overview of mechanisms underlying selection and influence is given. After a description of the shortcomings of previous studies in this area, the stochastic actor‐based model is sketched; this is used in this special issue to examine network–behavior dynamics. The preconditions for such analyses are discussed, as are common model specification issues. Next, recent empirical advances in research on adolescence are discussed, focusing on new insights into moderating effects, initiation of behaviors, time heterogeneity, mediation effects, and negative ties.
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This study investigates whether peer influence on smoking among adolescents is asymmetrical. We hypothesize that several features of smoking lead peers to have a stronger effect on smoking initiation than cessation. Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health we estimate a dynamic network model that includes separate effects for increases versus decreases in smoking, while also controlling for endogenous network change. We find that the impact of peer influence is stronger for the initiation of smoking than smoking cessation. Adolescents rarely initiate smoking without peer influence but will cease smoking while their friends continue smoking. We discuss the implications of these results for theories of peer influence and health policy.
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The current study investigates the possibility that friendship networks connect adolescents to influence from a broader group of adults beyond their own families. In doing so, we combine two rich traditions of research on adult influence on children and adolescents. Family research has suggested a number of ways in which effective parenting can reduce deviant behavior among adolescents. In addition, research on neighborhoods has advanced the idea that adults outside of the immediate family can exert social control that may reduce deviance. We employ longitudinal social network analysis to examine data drawn from the PROSPER Peers Project, a longitudinal study of adolescents following over 12,000 students in 27 non-metropolitan communities as they moved from 6th through 9th grade. We find evidence that the behavior of friends' parents is linked, both directly and indirectly, to adolescent alcohol use. Findings suggest that much of the influence from friends' parents is mediated through peer behavior, but that parental knowledge reported by friends continues to be associated with alcohol use even when controlling for competing mechanisms. Furthermore, adolescents tend to choose friends who report similar levels of parenting as themselves. Our results provide support for the position that friendships in adolescence connect youth to a broader network of adults and illustrate how adults outside of the family contribute to the social control of adolescents.
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Prior research has indicated that shy adolescents are more motivated to form friendships online than to form friendships offline. Little is known about whether having friendships found exclusively online may impact self-esteem and forming offline friendships for these adolescents. This study therefore aimed to provide insight into the moderating role of shyness in the longitudinal interplay between friendships in online and offline contexts in early adolescence. Adolescents and their friends (193 girls, 196 boys;Mage=13.29) were followed with three consecutive measurements with intervals of eight months. Results showed that particularly for shy adolescents, having friends exclusively online predicted increases in self-esteem. Self-esteem, in turn, was found to predict forming more friendships found both offline and online and forming more friendships found exclusively offline. Thus, findings supported the social compensation perspective that shy adolescents may benefit from having friends exclusively online, as these friendships may increase self-esteem, thereby facilitating the formation of friendships found partially and completely offline.
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How can we reduce ethnic friendship segregation in ethnically heterogeneous schools? The Common Ingroup Identity Model suggests that interethnic friendships are promoted by those intervention programs that focus on the interests students have in common. The authors argue that the outcome of these common interest interventions may crucially depend on sufficient consensus in participants’ opinions regarding the shared interest. Such an intervention may backfire and increase ethnic segregation if participants from different ethnic groups have different opinions about the common interest. The authors test their argument analyzing the dynamics of friendship networks and opinions in 48 school classes with an actor-based stochastic model. Their findings suggest that salient common interests in ethnically mixed school classes can indeed reduce ethnic segregation. However, they also found that friendship selection on the basis of similar opinions can foster ethnic segregation. This occurred when ethnicity was correlated with the opinions that students held regarding the salient interest, even when these students did not prefer intra-ethnic friendship per se.
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We examined the connections between attitudes, group norms, and students’ behaviour in bullying situations (bullying others, assisting the bully, reinforcing the bully, defending the victim, or staying outside bullying situations). The participants were 1220 elementary school children (600 girls and 620 boys) from 48 school classes from Grades four, five, and six, i.e., 9–10, 10–11, and 11–12 years of age. Whereas attitudes did predict behaviour at the student level in most cases (although the effects were moderate after controlling for gender), the group norms could be used in explaining variance at the classroom level, especially in the upper grades. The class context (even if not classroom norms specifically) had more effect on girls’ than on boys’ bullying-related behaviours.
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This study examined whether classroom norms based on status explained between-class variations in selection processes and particularly influence processes on adolescents’ risk attitudes in a sample of 1092 adolescents (age 12–13) across 47 classrooms. Based on the association between status (popularity) and risk attitudes (norm salience), it was hypothesized that risk attitudes would proliferate more via peer influence processes in classes with a more positive correlation between status and risk attitudes, compared with classes with a somewhat positive or neutral correlation. Results were in line with these expectations. These findings show that classroom norms based on status affect adolescents’ susceptibility to peer influence on risk attitudes in friendship networks, suggesting status-based influence processes.
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Background: Peer smoking is one of the strongest predictors of adolescent cigarette use, but less is known about whether other peer characteristics also contribute to this behavior. Objectives: This study examined the links between adolescent cigarette use and peer beliefs about smoking. It tested whether peer beliefs about smoking are associated with changes in cigarette use, whether this association is a result of changes in individual beliefs about smoking, and how beliefs inform friendship choices. Methods: Analyses drew on data collected from 29 school-based networks, each measured at five occasions as students moved from 6th through 9th grade, as part of the study of the PROSPER partnership model. Longitudinal social network models provided estimates of friendship selection and behavior for an average of 6,200 students at each measurement point and more than 9,000 students overall. Results: Peer beliefs about smoking influenced cigarette use both directly and through their impact on individual beliefs. Respondents tended to name friends whose beliefs about smoking were similar to their own, and the likelihood of being named as a friend was higher for those who reported more positive beliefs about smoking. Conclusion: The results from this study suggest that peer beliefs about smoking, in addition to peer cigarette use itself, are associated with adolescent smoking through several mechanisms. Because beliefs favorable to cigarette use are present before adolescents actually smoke, these results underscore the importance of implementing smoking prevention programs in early adolescence.
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Theories of human behavior suggest that individuals attend to the behavior of certain people in their community to understand what is socially normative and adjust their own behavior in response. An experiment tested these theories by randomizing an anticonflict intervention across 56 schools with 24,191 students. After comprehensively measuring every school's social network, randomly selected seed groups of 20-32 students from randomly selected schools were assigned to an intervention that encouraged their public stance against conflict at school. Compared with control schools, disciplinary reports of student conflict at treatment schools were reduced by 30% over 1 year. The effect was stronger when the seed group contained more "social referent" students who, as network measures reveal, attract more student attention. Network analyses of peer-to-peer influence show that social referents spread perceptions of conflict as less socially normative.
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The first major battle over school choice came out of struggles over equalizing and integrating schools in the civil rights era, when it became apparent that choice could be either a serious barrier or a significant tool for reaching these goals. The second large and continuing movement for choice was part of the very different anti-government, individualistic, market-based movement of a more conservative period in which many of the lessons of that earlier period were forgotten, though choice was once again presented as the answer to racial inequality. This book brings civil rights back into the center of the debate and tries to move from doctrine to empirical research in exploring the many forms of choice and their very different consequences for equity in U.S. schools. Leading researchers conclude that although helping minority children remains a central justification for choice proponents, ignoring the essential civil rights dimensions of choice plans risks compounding rather than remedying racial inequality.
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This study uses National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) data to explore the co-evolution of friendship networks and delinquent behaviors. Using a stochastic actor–based (SAB) model, we simultaneously estimate the network structure, influence process, and selection process on adolescents in 12 small schools (N = 1,284) and 1 large school (N = 976) over three time periods. Our results indicate the presence of both selection and influence processes. Moderating effects were tested for density, centrality, and popularity, with only a weak interaction effect for density and influence in the small schools (p < .10). Contexts outside the school affected school networks: adolescents in the large school were particularly likely to form ties to others from equally disadvantaged neighborhoods, and adolescents in the small schools with more outside of school ties increased their delinquency over time. These findings support the importance of delinquency in peer selection and influence processes.
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This study examined whether the degree to which bullying is normative in the classroom would moderate associations between intra- (cognitive and affective empathy, self-efficacy beliefs) and interpersonal (popularity) factors and defending behavior. Participants were 6,708 third- to fifth-grade children (49% boys; Mage = 11 years) from 383 classrooms. Multilevel modeling analyses revealed that children were more likely to defend in response to their affective empathy in classrooms with high levels of bullying. In addition, popular students were more likely to support victims in classrooms where bullying was associated with social costs. These findings highlight the importance of considering interactions among individual and contextual influences when trying to understand which factors facilitate versus inhibit children's inclinations to defend others.
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Seeking to reduce problematic peer influence is a prominent theme of programs to prevent adolescent problem behavior. To support the refinement of this aspect of prevention programming, we examined peer influence and selection processes for three problem behaviors (delinquency, alcohol use, and smoking). We assessed not only the overall strengths of these peer processes, but also their consistency versus variability across settings. We used dynamic stochastic actor-based models to analyze five waves of friendship network data across sixth through ninth grades for a large sample of U.S. adolescents. Our sample included two successive grade cohorts of youth in 26 school districts participating in the PROSPER study, yielding 51 longitudinal social networks based on respondents' friendship nominations. For all three self-reported antisocial behaviors, we found evidence of both peer influence and selection processes tied to antisocial behavior. There was little reliable variance in these processes across the networks, suggesting that the statistical imprecision of the peer influence and selection estimates in previous studies likely accounts for inconsistencies in results. Adolescent friendship networks play a strong role in shaping problem behavior, but problem behaviors also