Children's Perceptions of Popular and Unpopular Peers: A Multimethod Assessment

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Children's perceptions of popular and unpopular peers were examined in 2 studies. Study 1 examined the degree to which 4th-8th-grade boys and girls (N = 408) nominated the same peers for multiple criteria. Children viewed liked others as prosocial and disliked others as antisocial but associated perceived popularity with both prosocial and antisocial behavior. In Study 2, a subset of the children from Study 1 (N = 92) described what makes boys and girls popular or unpopular. Children described popular peers as attractive with frequent peer interactions, and unpopular peers as unattractive, deviant, incompetent, and socially isolated. In both studies, children's perceptions varied as a function of the gender, age, and ethnicity of the participants.


This research was supported by a Sacred Heart University Research and Creativity Grant awarded to Kathryn M. LaFontana and a University of Connecticut Research Foundation faculty grant awarded to Antonius H. N. Cillessen.