Are early adolescent victims of peer-directed aggression youth who hold prominent positions in the social hierarchy or those who are socially marginalized? The present study tackles this question by testing for linear and curvilinear relationships between social network prestige and physical and relational forms of peer victimization for boys and girls. Participants were 952 middle schoolers (age range = 10–14 years; 49.9 % girls; 44 % Latino). Participants nominated victims and friends; friendship nominations were used to calculate social network prestige. Both hypotheses received support, with variation by gender. Girls high in social network prestige were highly victimized. For boys, those both high and low in social network prestige were highly victimized, whereas those at mid-levels of social network prestige were low in victimization. The findings are discussed in relation to a social dominance model of peer-directed aggression, and the practical implications are discussed in relation to protecting youth who are frequent targets of peer victimization.
- Social dominance
- Social network prestige
- Social standing
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Social Psychology
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)