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Competition, Envy, or Snobbism? How Popularity and Friendships Shape Antipathy Networks of Adolescents


  • This study was funded in part by a research fund granted to Christian Berger by the Comisión Nacional de Desarrollo de Investigación Científica y Tecnológica, Chile (FONDECYT project number 11110037). Part of this research was funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) Vernieuwingsimpuls (VENI) Project number 451-10-012 awarded to Jan Kornelis Dijkstra (2010). Both authors made equal contributions to the manuscript.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Christian Berger, Escuela de Psicología Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Vicuña Mackenna 4860, Macul, Santiago RM 782 0436, Chile. E-mail:


This study examined how status (popularity) and friendship relations affected the development of adolescents’ dislike relations (i.e., antipathy networks) over time. Three competing hypotheses were formulated about the role of status: antipathy relations result from either similarity in status (competition hypothesis) or dissimilarity in status when lower status peers reject higher status peers (envy hypothesis) or vice versa (snobbism hypothesis). Hypotheses were tested in a longitudinal sample of adolescents from Chile (fifth to sixth grade; 52% boys; = 273). Antipathy and friendship networks were examined simultaneously using longitudinal social network modeling (SIENA). Higher status adolescents were more likely to reject their lower status peers, in line with the snobbism hypothesis. Furthermore, best friends tended to agree upon which peers to reject over time.