2010 › Trails



Bullying and popularity: Friday on my mind: The relation of partying with antisocial behavior of early adolescents

Authors: Veenstra R, Huitsing G, Dijkstra JK, Lindenberg S

The relation between partying and antisocial behavior was investigated using a sample of Dutch early adolescents (T2: N = 1,076; M age = 13.52). Antisocial behavior was divided into rule-breaking and aggressive behavior. Using a goal-framing approach, it was argued that the relation of partying to antisocial behavior depends on the way the need to belong is realized. Girls, in early adolescence often physically more mature than boys, are likely to seek older and, thus, often more antisocial boys for partying. Unpopular adolescents are likely to be among themselves when partying, and their feeling of exclusion is likely to lead to antisocial behavior. The findings show that girls who party are indeed at a greater risk of engaging in antisocial behavior, as are unpopular girls and boys.

Bullying and popularity: Peer stressors and gender differences in adolescents’ mental health. The TRAILS study

Authors: Bakker MP, Ormel J, Verhulst FC, Oldehinkel AJ

This study tested two hypotheses about gender-specific mental health effects of peer stressors during early adolescence: (1) boys and girls are sensitive to different types of peer stressors, and (2) peer stress is associated with different mental health problems in boys and girls. These two hypotheses were tested in a prospective large population cohort of 2084 Dutch young adolescents. Internalizing and externalizing problems were measured at baseline and follow-up, while stressful life events in the period between baseline and follow-up were measured retrospectively at follow-up. We performed the analyses with two types of peer stressors; victimization at school and relationship losses. Relationship losses were more strongly associated with internalizing and externalizing problems in girls than boys, supporting the first hypothesis. Peer victimization at school was also associated with both types of mental health problems, but equally strong in both genders. Peer stress is unlikely to be associated with different mental health problems in boys and girls. Instead, boys and girls are more likely to be susceptible to different types of peer stressors.

Bullying and popularity: Do they get what they want or are they stuck with what they can get? Testing homophily against default selection for friendships of highly aggressive boys. The TRAILS study

Authors: Sijtsema JJ, Lindenberg S, Veenstra R

In this study a homophily selection hypothesis was tested against a default selection hypothesis, to answer whether preferred and realized friendships of highly aggressive boys differed. In a large peer-nomination sample, we assessed who highly overt aggressive, low prosocial boys (n = 181) nominated as friends (preferred friendships) and who among the nominated friends reciprocated the friendship (realized friendships). These preferred and realized friendships were compared with those of less aggressive (n = 1268) and highly aggressive but also prosocial boys (bi-strategics; n = 55). Results showed that less aggressive boys preferred peers low on aggression, whereas highly aggressive and bi-strategic boys preferred peers not particular high or low on aggression. In line with default selection, highly aggressive boys ended up with aggressive peers even though that was not their preference. In general, received support proved an important determinant of highly aggressive, bi-strategic, and less aggressive boys’ preferred and realized friendships. Especially highly aggressive boys preferred emotionally supportive friends, but ended up with the least supportive peers. In sum, for friendships of highly overt aggressive boys, the evidence favors default selection over homophily selection.

Bullying and popularity: Basking in Reflected Glory and Its Limits: Why Adolescents Hang Out With Popular Peers

Authors: Dijkstra JK, Cillessen AHN, Lindenberg S, Veenstra R

The goal of this study was to examine whether popularity and likeability were related to associating with popular peers in adolescence. Participants were 3,312 adolescents (M age = 13.60 years) from 172 classrooms in 32 schools. Four types of peer affiliations of the participants with the popular peers in their classrooms were distinguished: “best friends,” “respected,” “wannabes,” and “unrelated.” Two types of benefits of affiliating with high-status peers were identified: achieving high status or popularity for oneself, and becoming liked by others. The results showed that popularity was associated with being closely affiliated with popular peers, whereas likeability was more strongly predicted by a more distant relation with popular peers. Results suggest that close affiliation with popular peers increases popularity, but come at the expense of reduced likeability in the peer group at large.

Bullying and popularity: Same-Gender and Cross-Gender Likeability: Associations with Popularity and Status Enhancement. The TRAILS Study

Authors: Dijkstra JK, Cillessen AHN, Lindenberg S, Veenstra R

This study examined the associations of popularity, substance use, athletic abilities, physical attractiveness, and physical and relational aggression with likeability by same-gender and cross-gender peers among early adolescents (N = 3312; M age = 13.60, with 92.7% of the participants in the 12-14 age range).The direction and strength of these associations were tested as well as whether they were moderated by popularity. Data collection consisted of peer nominations in 172 classrooms of 34 secondary schools. Taking a goal-framing perspective, we argued that key to understanding the association between popularity and likeability is the distinction between features that help to achieve popularity, and features that help to maintain popularity. In support of our hypotheses, popularity and substance use, athletic abilities, and physical attractiveness (characteristics that help to become popular) contributed significantly to likeability, whereas physical and relational aggression (characteristics that help to maintain popularity) negatively predicted likeability. These specific nature of these effects depended on the reference group (same-gender vs. other-gender peers), and were further moderated by popularity.