When it's good to be "bad": Violence and adolescent peer acceptance

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This article examines the relationship between adolescent violence and peer acceptance in school. Deriving hypotheses from subcultural theories of crime and violence, it tests whether the violence-status relationship varies across sociodemographic characteristics and educational contexts of students. Analyses of school network data collected from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health suggest that violence generally holds a negative relationship to peer friendship nominations for both males and females. However, for males, this effect varies by the educational standing of the students. Violence shows a modest positive association to peer acceptance for males who perform poorly in school. No evidence exists that race moderates the violence -status relationship. These findings are replicated in longitudinal analyses of a large metropolitan high school. For females, violence has a significant negative relationship to peer status that does not vary by individual characteristics. However, school levels of violence moderate the relationship between social status and female violence such that violent females have greater numbers of friendships in highly violent schools. The implications of these findings for peer research and delinquency theory are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)893-923
Number of pages31
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Law


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