, Volume 13, Issue 2, pp 271-293

Social preference, social prominence, and group membership in late elementary school: homophilic concentration and peer affiliation configurations

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This study investigated the social preference and social prominence of 622 5th graders (290 boys, 332 girls) in relation to peer group membership. The sample was recruited from 11 elementary schools in a southeastern state. The ethnicity of participants was 55% European American, 41% African American, and 4% other. Peer groups were classified on each of three domains (academic, aggression, popular) by the proportion of group members who were high on the characteristic of interest. Participants’ peer affiliations were also classified with cluster analytic techniques that yielded distinct configurations of aggression, popularity, and academic competence. Social preference and social prominence were each related to popular peer group type for both boys and girls and differentially related to aggressive and academic group types. Social prominence, but not social preference, was related to peer group configurations for both girls and boys. Implications for the development of social contextual interventions to support students’ adjustment and academic engagement during late elementary school are discussed.

This research was supported by grant H324C020106 from the Office of Special Education Programs and by grant R305A04056 from the Institute of Education Sciences. The views expressed in this paper are ours and do not represent the granting agencies.