Music Preferences, Friendship, and Externalizing Behavior in Early Adolescence: A SIENA Examination of the Music Marker Theory Using the SNARE Study

Aart Franken*, Loes Keijsers, Jan Kornelis Dijkstra, Tom ter Bogt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
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Music Marker Theory posits that music is relevant for the structuring of peer groups and that rock, urban, or dance music preferences relate to externalizing behavior. The present study tested these hypotheses, by investigating the role of music preference similarity in friendship selection and the development of externalizing behavior, while taking the effects of friends’ externalizing behavior into account. Data were used from the first three waves of the SNARE (Social Network Analysis of Risk behavior in Early adolescence) study (N = 1144; 50% boys; Mage = 12.7; SD = 0.47), including students who entered the first-year of secondary school. Two hypotheses were tested. First, adolescents were expected to select friends based both on a similarity in externalizing behavior and music genre preference. Second, a preference for rock, urban, or dance, music types was expected to predict the development of externalizing behavior, even when taking friends’ influence on externalizing behavior into account. Stochastic Actor-Based Modeling indicated that adolescents select their friends based on both externalizing behavior and highbrow music preference. Moreover, both friends’ externalizing behavior and a preference for dance music predicted the development of externalizing behavior. Intervention programs might focus on adolescents with dance music preferences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1839-1850
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Youth and Adolescence
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug-2017


  • Early adolescence
  • Externalizing behavior
  • Music Marker Theory
  • Social network analysis
  • RISK

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