Little is known about individual differences in adolescents’ motivation to achieve and maintain popularity. This study examined the moderating effects of prioritizing popularity on the associations between popularity and adjustment outcomes in late adolescence. Participants were 314 Dutch eleventh-grade students (Mage = 16.83 years; 52 % male) who completed measures of popularity, prioritizing popularity, and prosocial, antisocial, and risk behaviors. It was hypothesized that associations between popularity and adjustment outcomes are stronger for adolescents who prioritize popularity. The results indicate that the combination of being popular and valuing popularity was strongly related to antisocial and risk behaviors, but not to prosocial behaviors. Adolescents’ social status motivations thus play an important role in the association of popularity with antisocial and risk behaviors in late adolescence.

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Keywords Popularity Social status Peer relationships Social development Risk behavior
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Journal Journal of Youth and Adolescence
Van den Broek, N, Deutz, M.H.F, Schoneveld, EA, Burk, WJ, & Cillessen, A.H.N. (2016). Behavioral correlates of prioritizing popularity in adolescence. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 45, 2444–2454. doi:10.1007/s10964-015-0352-7