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The role of academic status norms in friendship selection and influence processes related to academic achievement.

ABSTRACT

This study examined the role of academic status norms in friendship selection and influence processes related to academic achievement across the 2nd year of secondary school (SNARE project; N = 1,549 students from 70 classes; M = 13.69 years). Academic status norms were operationalized as the class-level correlation between academic achievement and 4 types of peer status: popularity, acceptance, unpopularity, and rejection. Longitudinal social network analyses indicated that the unpopularity and popularity norm play a role in friendship selection processes (but not influence processes) related to academic achievement. In line with our hypotheses, the unpopularity norm in the classroom strengthened similarity-based friendship selection among low-achieving adolescents and predicted greater avoidance of academically similar friends among high-achieving adolescents. Also, the popularity norm strengthened friendship selection among similar peers, both among low and high achievers. Acceptance and rejection norms did not play a role in friendship processes. In sum, the average achievement of popular and unpopular peers shapes friendship preferences in the classroom, which may have important implications for adolescent academic development. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved).