Risk Factor Popularity and Risk Buffer Likeability Combined in Predicting Aggression: The Interactions with Educational Level and Sex
Dijk, M.E.J. van
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Aggressive behavior is intentional behavior to harm another person, and can lead to negative outcomes for the perpetrator and the victim. In order to effectively reduce aggression, factors that could influence aggression, such as social status, should be investigated. This study examines if different social status groups, based on popularity and likeability combined, are related to aggression, and whether adolescents in higher educational levels and boys show more aggression within these groups. Longitudinal data of the Social Network Analysis of Risk behavior in Early adolescence (SNARE) project are used. Data on popularity, likeability, and aggression were collected through peer-nomimations, using a questionnaire (N = 1785). The results of a multiple regression analysis implied that being popular, whether or not the adolescent was likeable, acted as a risk factor in predicting more aggression. Furthermore, likeability acted as a small risk buffer in neutralizing some of the effects of popularity on aggression. Lastly, neither educational level nor sex moderated all relations between social status and aggression. Future research should aim to uncover the reasons why adolescents are prone to use aggression to attain a popular status, in order to effectively reduce aggression and negative outcomes in the future.