Children's perceptions of popular and unpopular peers: a multimethod assessment

Dev Psychol. 2002 Sep;38(5):635-47. doi: 10.1037//0012-1649.38.5.635.


Children's perceptions of popular and unpopular peers were examined in 2 studies. Study 1 examined the degree to which 4th-8th-grade boys and girls (N = 408) nominated the same peers for multiple criteria. Children viewed liked others as prosocial and disliked others as antisocial but associated perceived popularity with both prosocial and antisocial behavior. In Study 2, a subset of the children from Study 1 (N = 92) described what makes boys and girls popular or unpopular. Children described popular peers as attractive with frequent peer interactions, and unpopular peers as unattractive, deviant, incompetent, and socially isolated. In both studies, children's perceptions varied as a function of the gender, age, and ethnicity of the participants.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Achievement
  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Aggression
  • Child
  • Cooperative Behavior
  • Ethnic Groups
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Peer Group*
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Desirability
  • Social Perception*
  • Sociometric Techniques
  • Sports
  • Surveys and Questionnaires