Social Psychology of Education

, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 23–39

The role of attractiveness and aggression in high school popularity

  • Casey Borch
  • Allen Hyde
  • Antonius H. N. Cillessen

DOI: 10.1007/s11218-010-9131-1

Cite this article as:
Borch, C., Hyde, A. & Cillessen, A.H.N. Soc Psychol Educ (2011) 14: 23. doi:10.1007/s11218-010-9131-1


This study examines the effects of physical attractiveness and aggression on popularity among high school students. Previous work has found positive relationships between aggression and popularity and physical attractiveness and popularity. The current study goes beyond this work by examining the interactive effects of physical attractiveness and aggression on popularity. Controlling for race and gender, the results indicate that attractive students are seen as more physically and relationally aggressive than those who are less attractive. We also found that those who are both physically attractive and aggressive are perceived to be more popular than those without such characteristics. However, the same interaction showed the opposite effect when predicting sociometric popularity instead of perceived popularity. These results contribute to the understanding of the differences between those who are well-liked (sociometric popularity) and those who are socially visible (perceived popularity), and the unique predictors of these two dimensions of status in the peer group.


PopularityAggressionPhysical attractivenessAdolescent developmentSociometric popularity

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Casey Borch
    • 1
  • Allen Hyde
    • 2
  • Antonius H. N. Cillessen
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of Alabama at BirminghamBirminghamUSA
  2. 2.University of ConnecticutStorrsUSA
  3. 3.Radboud Universiteit NijmegenNijmegenThe Netherlands