Research has shown that adolescents' intergroup attitudes are subject to friends' influence, but it remains unknown if certain friends are more influential than others. Popular adolescents may be especially influential of their friends' intergroup attitudes because they can set peer norms. We examined several indicators of popularity in social networks as possible determinants of social influence: sociometric popularity, prestige popularity, being a clique leader, and frequency of contact with friends. Longitudinal analysis of adolescents' friendship networks (12-13 years, N = 837) allowed estimating influence of friends on adolescents' intergroup attitudes, while controlling for the tendency of adolescents to befriend peers with similar intergroup attitudes. Results showed that adolescents' intergroup attitudes changed in the direction of friends' intergroup attitudes. Only peers who are popular in terms of having many friends (sociometric popular) were especially influential of their friends' intergroup attitudes. These findings may inform future interventions aiming to reduce prejudice.
|Number of pages||26|
|Journal||Group Processes & Intergroup Relations|
|Early online date||4-Sept-2019|
|Publication status||Published - 1-Aug-2020|
- intergroup attitudes
- social influence
- social network analysis