ERIC Number: ED434770
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1999-Jun
Content Analysis of Children's Stereotypes about Popularity: Developmental and Gender Differences.
LaFontana, Kathryn M.; Cillessen, Antonius
Research on popularity during childhood and early adolescence suggests that children who are perceived as popular by peers are not necessarily the same children who are sociometrically popular. This study extended previous research on popularity by examining children's perceptions of popularity. The study used open-ended questions instead of peer nomination only and also examined gender and differences. Participating was an ethnically diverse sample of 92 children in the fourth through eighth grades. Subjects were asked to provide free descriptions of four types of peers: popular boys; popular girls; unpopular boys; and unpopular girls. Their responses were coded for content and valence. Stepwise discriminant function analyses were conducted to determine how well children's answers discriminated among the four types of peers. Repeated measures analyses of variance were performed with participant age, gender, and status as between-subject factors. The findings indicated that popular targets were described most frequently as physically attractive and socially competent, while unpopular targets were described primarily in terms of physical unattractiveness, infrequent social interaction, and deviance. Girls tended to hold more negative stereotypes than boys did, especially regarding popular girls, and older children placed more emphasis on physical appearance than did younger children. (KB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Poster presentation at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Society (11th, Denver, CO, June 3-6, 1999).