, Volume 35, Issue 3, pp 412-422
Date: 14 Feb 2006

Heterogeneity of Girls’ Consensual Popularity: Academic and Interpersonal Behavioral Profiles

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The present study explored the heterogeneous nature of popularity by investigating subgroups of popular girls (N = 365) in their first year of secondary school (mean age  =  13.05). Cluster analysis revealed the presence of five subgroups based upon sociometric popularity (i.e., those considered likeable by peers) and consensual popularity (i.e., those considered popular by peers), and academic behavioral indices. Two of these groups contained girls who were all nominated as “popular” by classmates, yet the girls in one group displayed very positive academic behaviors (Popular Studious); girls in the other popular group displayed extreme antiacademic behaviors (Popular Disengaged). The remaining groups were Average Popular, Unpopular Disengaged, and Unpopular Studious. External validating measures confirmed the existence of the subgroups, that is, Popular Studious girls were judged by classmates to behave in a prosocial fashion, whereas Popular Disengaged girls exhibited many antisocial behaviors, and were often nominated as bullies. Unpopular Studious girls were often nominated as victims. These findings confirmed the hypothesis that consensual popularity is a heterogeneous concept, and that antiacademic and antisocial girls may still be among the most consensually popular students in secondary schools.

Lecturer at the Department of Educational Sciences, University of Amsterdam, Wibautstraat 4, 1091 GM Amsterdam, The Netherlands. His interests include the academic and social behavioral correlates of consensual popularity in adolescence.
Associate Professor and Head of Developmental Division, Department of Psychology, University of Connecticut. His interests include peer relations, social behavior, and social cognition in middle childhood and early adolescence.