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Dominance hierarchies in groups of middle to late adolescent males

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Two cabin groups (N=5 and 6) of 14- to 17-year-old males were observed during a five-week camping session. Recorded were all instances of dyadic dominance behaviors occurring between group members in three behavior settings. Various group sociometric exercises and life history data were also available. Similar to previously studied early adolescent groups, the current middle and late adolescents formed a group dominance hierarchy that remained relatively stable during the camp session and in the behavior settings. In marked contrast to early adolescents, however, physical variables such as pubertal maturation, athletic ability, and physical fitness no longer predicted relative ranking among group members. Rather, individual variations in intelligence, creativity, crafts skill, cabin spirit, peer popularity, and camp experience predicted the group structure. Physical means of expressing dominance status were rare among the older adolescents.

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Received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, Committee on Human Development, in 1977. Current teaching and research interests include early adolescence, the ecology of self-esteem during adolescence, and a biopsychological/ethological approach toward adolescence. Correspondence should be sent to the author at the above address.

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Savin-Williams, R.C. Dominance hierarchies in groups of middle to late adolescent males. J Youth Adolescence 9, 75–85 (1980).

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