Friendship selection and influence processes for popularity in early and mid-adolescents

Ana Bravo, Rosario Ortega-Ruiz, Rene Veenstra, Maaike C. Engels, Eva M. Romera*

*Corresponding author for this work

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1 Citation (Scopus)
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Introduction This study examined the effect of popularity levels on friendship selection and friends' influence on popularity levels in early and mid-adolescence. Methods Participants were 4205 Spanish adolescents (M-age = 13.1 years at Wave 1; 48% girls) belonging to 160 classrooms in two waves. Adolescents were asked about their friendships and the popularity of their classmates. Results Longitudinal social network analyses showed that adolescents preferred similarly popular peers as friends. High popular classmates were more attractive as friends, particularly in early adolescence. Popular adolescents were more selective in their friendship nominations and adolescents with popular friends became more popular over time. These two effects were only significant in mid-adolescents, although comparative analyses showed a similar tendency at both age groups. Conclusions This study highlights the importance of popularity levels in adolescents' friendship selection and suggests that popularity, at the individual and group level, plays a relevant role in social development. Implications adapted to the different selection and influence processes in early and mid-adolescence are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-56
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Adolescence
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan-2022


  • early and mid-adolescence
  • friendship
  • popularity
  • Stochastic-actor-based modeling (RSiena)

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