A cross-validation of a multidimensional conceptualization of preadolescent social status
Lindstrom, William Alfred
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The main objective of this investigation was to examine the support for a multidimensional typology of preadolescent social status. In the literature review, empirical findings relating to social status and preadolescent peer groups were reviewed. Three distinct one-dimensional conceptualizations were described: (a) sociometric studies have defined social status using peer nominations of likeability; (b) sociological studies have used ethnographic means and have equated social status with social prominence, prestige, and visibility; and (c) social dominance studies have assessed the degree to which children are able to access and control resources in the peer group. A review of the research assessing the degree of relation between the contrasting indices suggested relative independence and considerably different high status behavioral profiles. Further, research studies that have defined social status using multiple dimensions were found to consistently identify multiple types of high status children. The usefulness of one-dimensional conceptualizations in identifying multiple types of high status children within a multi-dimensional framework was discussed. In the empirical manuscript, the support for a multidimensional typology of preadolescent social status described by Lease, Musgrove, and Axelrod (2002) was investigated using two external validation methods: cluster analysis of an independent sample and cross-classification comparisons. Six of the seven subtypes of the Lease, Musgrove, and Axelrod (2002) solution emerged within the independent cluster analysis: High Status, Perceived Popular/Dominant, Well-Liked/Dominant, Disliked, Low Dominant/Unpopular, and Low Status. An Average cluster subtype was not found. Comparisons of the two typologies revealed highly similar centroids, comparable hierarchical structures, and consistent behavioral profiles as rated by teachers and peers. The cross-classification procedure demonstrated a high degree of similarity between the solutions of the original (Lease et al., 2002) and independent samples. The findings provide evidence that a replicable, internally valid social status typology may underlie preadolescent peer groups.