• peer group;
  • social status;
  • physical aggression;
  • social aggression


The influence of high-status peers on a target individual's physical and manipulative social aggression in peer groups was examined in a diverse sample of seventh-grade students. A total of 245 individual members belonging to 65 groups were included in analyses. Aggression was assessed by peer and victim nominations in the fall and spring semesters of seventh grade. High-status peers rather than low-status peers in a group had a strong influence on individual members' physical and social aggression. High-status peers were particularly influential on low-status individual members' social aggression. A similar pattern was found for physical aggression in boys' groups. These findings imply that high-status members' aggression rather than the average of all members' may better represent the group norm. Special attention needs to be given to high-status aggressive adolescents in future intervention and prevention of aggression in schools.