Perceived popularity is associated with both positive and negative characteristics, and adolescents' stereotypes associated with popularity reflect this paradox. The current study investigated adolescents' stereotypes associated with popularity and gender, as well as their liking for popular peers who engage in prosocial, antisocial, and jealousy-eliciting behaviors. Of particular interest was how adolescents perceive the behaviors of same-sex versus other-sex peers of varying levels of popularity. A total of 190 seventh and ninth graders were randomly assigned to evaluate, via a series of vignettes, a hypothetical same-sex and other-sex peer who was either popular, unpopular, or of neutral status. Results suggest that adolescents view popular peers as less prosocial, more antisocial, and as eliciting more romantic jealousy than other peers. Adolescents' expectations regarding prosocial and antisocial behavior generally reflected widely held gender stereotypes. They were more accepting of antisocial behaviors enacted by other-sex peers compared to same-sex peers.


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pp. 349-374
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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