Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Tiina Ojanen, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jennifer Bosson, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Judith Bryant, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jamie Goldenberg, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Diana Rancourt, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Joseph Vandello, Ph.D.


peer relations, social status, self-perceptions, aggressive behavior


From early on, social adjustment among peers is crucial to healthy development. Social status, a reflection of adjustment among peers, can be considered in terms of acceptance or likeability, and rejection, or dislikability, as well as popularity or reputational prestige in the peer group. Research finds meaningful links between peer status and social behaviors like aggression, but has not examined the role of dimensions of peer status in association with perceptions of the self. I conducted a set of studies examining associations among peer status (likeability, dislikability, and popularity) and self-perceptions (self-esteem and self-concept clarity), and social goals as moderators of these associations. In Study 1, I examined cross-sectional associations between peer-reported status and aggression and self-perceptions and social goals in adolescents. In Studies 2, 3, and 4, I experimentally examined the effects of peer status on the self, as well as social goals as moderators of these effects, in young adults using two newly developed manipulations of peer status. Contrary to my hypotheses, the results suggested that self-esteem and self-concept clarity were not directly associated with peer status, and that these associations largely did not differ based on social goals. However, further exploratory analyses revealed meaningful links among the study variables in youth and adults. Results have theoretical and practical implications for understanding peer status, the self, and aggression. Limitations and future directions are discussed.

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Psychology Commons