Peer group affiliation of children: The role of perceived popularity, likeability, and behavioral similarity in bullying

M. Witvliet, T. Olthof, J.B. Hoeksma, F.A. Goossens, M.S.I. Smits, H.M. Koot

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

To understand children's peer group affiliation, this study examined to what extent children in naturally occurring groups resemble each other on bullying, likeability, and perceived popularity. Participants were fourth- to sixth-grade pupils (N = 461). Peer groups were identified using the social cognitive map procedure. Resemblance on bullying, likeability, and perceived popularity was evaluated by means of variance components models. Resemblance in peer groups was strongest for perceived popularity, followed by bullying and likeability. Moreover, resemblance on bullying could for a large part be attributed to the high-perceived popularity of the group, and to a lesser extent, to the low likeability of the group. It is concluded that children showing bullying seem to affiliate with each other most of all to attain or maintain their position in a perceived popular peer group. Results stress the importance of considering the functionality of bullying from a group perspective. © Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 2009.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)285-303
Number of pages19
JournalSocial Development
Volume19
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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