“They Like Me, They Like Me Not”: Popularity and Adolescents’ Perceptions of Acceptance Predicting Social Functioning Over Time

Abstract:

This study examined the dual roles of adolescents’ perceptions of social acceptance and sociometric popularity in predicting relative changes over time in adolescents’ social functioning. Observational, self-report, and peer report data were obtained from 164 adolescents who were interviewed at age 13 years and then again at age 14 years, as well as their same-sex close friends. Adolescents who felt positively about their own social standing fared well over time, regardless of their level of sociometric popularity. Further, low popularity was particularly problematic for adolescents who failed to see themselves as fitting in. Results suggest that during adolescence, when it becomes increasingly possible for teens to choose their own social niches, it is possible to be socially successful without being broadly popular.

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