Both theory and empirical evidence suggest that adolescents engage in risk behaviour to gain mature status, thereby becoming popular among their peers. Using a cross-sectional design with 20 school classes from higher secondary schools in Austria and the Netherlands, associations between risk behaviour and social status in late adolescence were examined (N = 408, Mage = 16.95, SD = 0.81, 50% male). Popularity and likeability were assessed as distinct facets of social status in adolescence using peer nominations. Self-reported risk behaviour included alcohol, tobacco and marijuana use, as well as sexual intercourse. Using a latent variable approach, results showed that in accordance with our assumptions, risk behaviour was strongly associated with popularity, but not with likeability. This study shows that in Austria and the Netherlands, associations between risk behaviour and social status among peers are in line with findings from outside of Europe. Theoretical and practical implications of these results are discussed and proposals for future research are given.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Risk behaviour, Adolescence, Social status, Popularity, Likeability
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1080/17405629.2014.975790, hdl.handle.net/1765/115795
Journal European Journal of Developmental Psychology
Citation
Agan, MLF, Buzila, AS, Deutz, M.H.F., Edelsbrunner, PA, & Zalis, L. (2015). Associations between risk behaviour and social status in European adolescents. European Journal of Developmental Psychology, 12, 189–203. doi:10.1080/17405629.2014.975790