The implications of having high-achieving versus low-achieving friends: A longitudinal analysis

Ellen Rydell Altermatt, Eva M. Pomerantz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The present research examines the achievement-related implications of establishing friendships with high-achieving versus low-achieving classmates. Fifth-, sixth-, and seventh-grade students (N = 929) participated. During the fall and spring semesters, the report card grades of children and their friends were obtained and children completed questionnaire measures of their self-evaluative beliefs and preference for challenge. Results suggest that for low-achieving students there are tradeoffs associated with establishing and maintaining friendships with high-achieving classmates. Specifically, low achievers who established and maintained friendships with high-achieving friends evaluated themselves less positively, but also performed better academically, than low achievers with similarly low-achieving friends. Fewer tradeoffs emerged for high achievers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)61-81
Number of pages21
JournalSocial Development
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2005


  • Achievement
  • Motivation
  • Peer relationships
  • Social comparison

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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