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Who Are Popular, Liked, and Admired? Longitudinal Associations between Three Social Status and Academic-Social Behavior


Peer social status has been identified as central to youth’s development. Whereas the majority of studies has focused on popularity and likability, recent efforts emphasize the need to consider admiration which captures how much peers respect and want to be like particular youth. The current study examined the overlap between the three types of social status (popularity, likability, and admiration), and investigated concurrent and longitudinal associations between social status and academic-social behavior. At each of 2 waves (five months apart), 736 South Korean youth (Mage = 12.5; 53% girls) made behavioral and social status nominations of their peers in classes. Popularity, likability, and admiration were only weakly associated with each other, and each social status was characterized by distinct behavioral features. Specifically, admiration was most strongly associated with academic engagement and prosocial behavior. Cross-lagged models revealed a bidirectional relationship between academic engagement and admiration. Academic engagement led to gains in admiration and admiration led to increases in academic engagement. The findings emphasize the need to focus on admiration to support youth’s positive adjustment.

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Correspondence to Huiyoung Shin.

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The author declares no conflict of interest.

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The research was approved by the Institutional Review Board at Oklahoma State University. All procedures performed in this study were in accordance with the ethical standards of Oklahoma State University and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Informed consent was obtained from all participants included in the study. Students signed an assent form indicating that they understood the conditions and wanted to participate prior to starting the survey.

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Shin, H. Who Are Popular, Liked, and Admired? Longitudinal Associations between Three Social Status and Academic-Social Behavior. J Youth Adolescence 49, 1783–1792 (2020).

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  • Popularity
  • Likability
  • Admiration
  • Academic and social behavior