Does an aggressor's target choice matter? Assessing change in the social network prestige of aggressive youth

Naomi C Z Andrews, Laura Hanish, Carlos E. Santos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Based on a social dominance approach, aggression is conceptualized as a strategy used to gain position, power, and influence within the peer network. However, aggression may only be beneficial when targeted against particular peers; both victims’ social standing and the number of victims targeted may impact aggressors’ social standing. The current study examined associations between aggressors’ targeting tendencies (victims’ social standing and number of victims) and aggressors’ own social standing, both concurrently and over time. Analyses were conducted using three analytic samples of seventh and eighth grade aggressors (Ns ranged from 161 to 383, 49% girls; 50% Latina/o). Participants nominated their friends; nominations were used to calculate social network prestige. Peer nominations were used to identify aggressors and their victim(s). For each aggressor, number of victims and victims’ social network prestige were assessed. Aggressors with more victims and with highly prestigious victims had higher social network prestige themselves, and they increased more in prestige over time than aggressors with fewer victims and less prestigious victims (though there were some differences across analytic samples). Findings have implications for the need to extend the social dominance approach to better address the links between aggressors and victims. Aggr. Behav. 43:364–374, 2017.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)364-374
Number of pages11
JournalAggressive Behavior
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2017


  • aggression
  • social dominance
  • social network prestige
  • social standing
  • victimization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • General Psychology


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