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Observations of Adolescent Peer Group Interactions as a Function of Within- and Between-Group Centrality Status


  • This research was funded by a grant from the Ontario Mental Health Foundation awarded to Wendy Ellis and David Wolfe. The authors thank the school personnel and students who participated in this research, and the many research assistants who helped to collect and code the data.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Wendy E. Ellis, King's University College at The University of Western Ontario, 266 Epworth Ave, London, Ontario, N6A 2M3. E-mail:


Observations of adolescent (n = 258; M age = 15.45) peer group triads (n = 86) were analyzed to identify conversation and interaction styles as a function of within-group and between-group centrality status. Group members' discussions about hypothetical dilemmas were coded for agreements, disagreements, commands, and opinions. Interactions during a hypothetical decision were rated for openness, dominance, aggression, and prosocial behavior. Hierarchical linear modeling revealed that higher within-group status predicted more disagreements, commands, and less openness than lower within-group status. Interactions showed that prosocial and aggressive behavior varied as a function of individual status in low-status but not high-status groups. Boys, but not girls, engaged in more openness in higher status groups. Results provide insights into peer socialization.