Faculty Sponsor, if applicable
Dr. Yan Li
The present study examined archival data of six focus group interviews. A total number of 37 randomly selected fifth and sixth graders (17 boys and 20 girls) from a public elementary school in China participated in the interviews. The qualitative transcriptions of their perceptions of popularity were investigated by developing coding schemes, coding interview transcriptions, and analyzing emerging categories. The results demonstrated sociability, academic performance, and prosocial behaviors served as major factors of peer status and popularity. High peer status and popular preadolescents, especially girls, were more likely to be sociable, whereas low sociability related to low level of popularity. Another notable social status determinant, academic performance, showed great importance to high popularity among both boys and girls. However, poor academic performance did not necessarily lead to low popularity standing. Prosocial behaviors, such as being helpful, were significant characteristics of popular peers and were also perceived as a mean to achieve higher status. Conversely, aggressive behaviors and disruptive behaviors were regarded as typical attributes of being unpopular. Additionally, collectivistic characteristics, such as placing a high emphasis on unity, were mentioned to represent popularity, which provided a culturally unique perspective in the study.
Type of Research
Department Honors, Doctoral-Undergraduate Opportunity for Scholarship (DUOS)