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12-07-2019 | Empirical Research

Prestigious Youth are Leaders but Central Youth are Powerful: What Social Network Position Tells us About Peer Relationships

Journal of Youth and Adolescence
Naomi C. Z. Andrews
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Supplementary information

The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s10964-019-01080-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
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Measures of social network position provide unique social and relational information yet have not been used extensively by researchers who study peer relationships. This study explored two measures—social network prestige and social network centrality—to improve conceptualization of their similarities, differences, and meaning within a peer relationships context. Prestige and centrality were computed from friendship nominations (N = 396 6th graders; 48% girls; 49% White) and participants nominated peers on several social indicators (e.g., aggressive, popular). Two example classroom networks were examined to visually depict social network position. Associations between measures of social network position and social indicators were examined using correlations and latent profile analysis. Latent profile analysis identified three profiles based on the social indicators, which differentially related to prestige and centrality. Overall, prestigious youth were generally well-liked, prosocial, and leaders, whereas central youth were powerful and aggressive. The results strengthen the conceptualization of these network-based measures, allowing them to be more readily used by peer relationships researchers to understand youth’s interaction patterns and behaviors.

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