Empirical Research

Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 38, Issue 8, pp 1084-1095

First online:

Early Adolescents’ Social Standing in Peer Groups: Behavioral Correlates of Stability and Change

  • Jennifer E. LansfordAffiliated withCenter for Child and Family Policy, Duke University Email author 
  • , Ley A. Killeya-JonesAffiliated withCenter for Genomic Medicine, Duke University
  • , Shari MillerAffiliated withRTI, Research Triangle Park
  • , Philip R. CostanzoAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology and Neuroscience, Duke University

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Sociometric nominations, social cognitive maps, and self-report questionnaires were completed in consecutive years by 327 students (56% girls) followed longitudinally from grade 7 to grade 8 to examine the stability of social standing in peer groups and correlates of changes in social standing. Social preference, perceived popularity, network centrality, and leadership were moderately stable from grade 7 to grade 8. Alcohol use and relational aggression in grade 7 predicted changes in social preference and centrality, respectively, between grade 7 and grade 8, but these effects were moderated by gender and ethnicity. Changes in social standing from grade 7 to grade 8 were unrelated to grade 8 physical aggression, relational aggression, and alcohol use after controlling for the grade 7 corollaries of these behaviors. Results are discussed in terms of their implications for understanding links between social standing and problem behaviors during adolescence.


Social preference Perceived popularity Network centrality Leadership