Peer Clique Participation and Social Status in Preadolescence
A method is described to identify peer cliques based on a consensus of group members; it provides quantitative measures of preadolescents' involvement in cliques and their association with peers who often get in trouble. Of primary interest was the relation between peer rejection and participation in peer cliques. Characteristics of peer cliques were assessed for 824 fourth-grade youth as a function of their sociometric status, gender, and aggressiveness. Rejected youth were less central members of their group than were average-status peers; however, aggressive preadolescents were no less centrally involved than their nonaggressive peers. Rejected preadolescents also belonged to smaller cliques and to cliques comprised of other low-status peers. Aggression was the primary factor associated with being a central member of deviant peer cliques.