Heterogeneity of popular boys: antisocial and prosocial configurations

Dev Psychol. 2000 Jan;36(1):14-24. doi: 10.1037//0012-1649.36.1.14.


This study examined subtypes of popular 4th-6th grade boys (N = 452). Popular-prosocial (model) and popular-antisocial (tough) configurations were identified by means of teacher ratings and compared with peer and self-assessments and social centrality measures. Peers perceived model boys as cool, athletic, leaders, cooperative, studious, not shy, and nonaggressive. Peers perceived tough boys as cool, athletic, and antisocial. Model boys saw themselves as nonaggressive and academically competent. Tough boys saw themselves as popular, aggressive, and physically competent. Tough boys were disproportionately African American, particularly when African Americans were a minority in their classrooms. Model and tough boys were overrepresented at nuclear social centrality levels. These findings suggest that highly aggressive boys can be among the most popular and socially connected children in elementary classrooms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • African Americans / psychology
  • Aggression / psychology
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder / diagnosis
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder / psychology*
  • Child
  • Dominance-Subordination*
  • European Continental Ancestry Group / psychology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Peer Group*
  • Personality Assessment
  • Self-Assessment
  • Social Adjustment
  • Social Behavior*