SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

This study explores peer influence on urban preadolescents' perceptions of social status benefits of material possessions. A longitudinal design is used. Natural, interaction-based peer groups are identified through the Social Cognitive Map procedure. Findings indicate that high-status rather than low-status peers in a group are influential on individuals. Strong influence of high-status peers is observed in both boys' and girls' groups. High-status peers are particularly influential on low-status individuals in girls' groups and on high-status individuals in boys' groups. Additionally, high-status peers' influence is stronger on African Americans than on Hispanic Americans and tends to be stronger on Hispanic Americans than on White Americans. These findings imply that special attention should be given to high-status youth in groups who highly endorse social benefits of material possessions. Characteristics of the target youth (e.g., gender, ethnicity and individual status) should be considered in future efforts for reducing the pervasiveness of materialism.