Examining degree of prototypicality as a predictor of children’s influence strategies
Whipple, Brittany Diana
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The exploration of leadership within the context of children’s cliques is particularly important considering that children are uniquely influenced by their peers, especially those with whom they interact most. The Social Identity Theory of leadership (Hogg & Reid, 2001) has recently guided empirical investigations into mechanisms of influence in adult populations but has been scarcely explored within child populations. This theory posits that leaders utilize different influence strategies based on their degree of prototypicality within their group. The current study aimed to extend the research on this theory by investigating the relationship between leader prototypicality and influence style in a sample of fourth- and fifth-grade students. Results of hierarchical regressions indicated that for girls identified as the leaders or most influential members of their cliques, degree of prototypicality significantly predicted the use of prosocial and coercive behaviors. In contrast, degree of prototypicality was not a significant predictor for any outcome variable for boys.