Early Adolescent Social Status and Academic Engagement: Selection and Influence Processes in the United States and China

Xin Zhang, Eva M. Pomerantz, Lili Qin, Handrea Logis, Allison M. Ryan, Meifang Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This research evaluated the role of high-status peers in youth's academic engagement. Youth (mean age = 12.7 years) in the United States and China (N = 934) made social status (i.e., sociometric popularity, perceived popularity, and admiration) nominations of their peers in the fall and spring of their first year of middle school. They also reported on their academic engagement at these two time points. The academic engagement of peers that youth nominated as high in sociometric and perceived popularity, but not of peers they admired, was predictive of youth's own academic engagement over time. Notably, this effect was evident over and above any initial similarity youth had with high-status peers they nominated (e.g., youth tended to nominate peers as high in sociometric popularity when they were similarly academically engaged to youth). It also did not differ in size in the United States and China. The results underscore the importance of high-status peers in youth's academic engagement in two countries that differ in terms of their cultural and educational systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1300-1316
JournalJournal of Educational Psychology
Volume111
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - 2019

Keywords

  • Academic engagement
  • Early adolescence
  • Peer influence
  • Social networks
  • Social status

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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