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November 21, 2019 Thursday 02:27:26 PM IST

Distinct types of teen popularity identified

Parent Interventions

Florida Atlantic University studies have considered the development of Machiavellianism or the role of Machiavellianism in children’s social interactions.

In prior research, two groups of popular adolescents stand out: those who are aggressive and those who are prosocial. Prosocial popular teens acquire and maintain popularity through cooperation. Aggressive popular teens acquire and maintain popularity through coercion and aggressive behaviour.Now there is a third group, described as Machiavellian-like consisting of the most popular, feared and loved.

For the study, published in the journal Child Development, researchers followed 568 girls and boys in seventh and eighth grade (median age 13) for two years.  

Results from the study identified three distinct groups of popular adolescents: prosocial popular; aggressive popular; and bistrategic popular or Machiavellian. The bistrategic group had the highest level of popularity and were above average on physical and relational aggression, as well as on prosocial behaviour. Bistrategic adolescents were noted for the way they balance their way with getting along.


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