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Status-Based Influence Processes: The Role of Norm Salience in Contagion of Adolescent Risk Attitudes

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  • The data reported in this paper were collected with funding from the Arnhem Housing Corporations (GOW) and from the Institute for Integration and Social Efficacy (ISW) at the University of Groningen. We thank all the students and school administrators who participated in the data collection. Part of this research was funded by NWO Vernieuwingsimpuls (VENI) Project number 451-10-012 awarded to Jan Kornelis Dijkstra (2010).

Requests for reprints should be sent to Jan Kornelis Dijkstra, University of Groningen, Grote Rozenstraat 31, Groningen 9712 TG, The Netherlands. E-mail: jan.dijkstra@rug.nl

Abstract

This study examined whether classroom norms based on status explained between-class variations in selection processes and particularly influence processes on adolescents’ risk attitudes in a sample of 1092 adolescents (age 12–13) across 47 classrooms. Based on the association between status (popularity) and risk attitudes (norm salience), it was hypothesized that risk attitudes would proliferate more via peer influence processes in classes with a more positive correlation between status and risk attitudes, compared with classes with a somewhat positive or neutral correlation. Results were in line with these expectations. These findings show that classroom norms based on status affect adolescents’ susceptibility to peer influence on risk attitudes in friendship networks, suggesting status-based influence processes.

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