Availability, Similarity, and Gender as Determinants of Adolescent Peer Acceptance

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Attributes of accepted classmates were investigated as a function of (a) respondent‐target similarity, (b) availability of desirable peers, (c) gender of respondent and accepted peers, and (d) level of intimacy of the social contact. It was assumed that availability would play a greater role than was previously recognized, in determining attributes of accepted peers in casual as well as intimate contacts, and same‐gender and opposite‐gender acceptance of males and females would be affected differentially by availability and similarity. Seven hundred and fitly‐five 6th, 7th. and 8th grade male and female students indicated their readiness to engage in closer or more casual contacts with each of their classmates, using the Interpersonal Relationship Assessment Technique. It was found that in more superficial relations attributes of accepted peers tended to reflect availability of desirable peers (mean level of desirable student attributes in class), but not respondent‐peer similarity; whereas readiness to maintain more intimate contacts with peers was significantly associated with similarity between respondent and accepted peers, as well as availability of desirable peers. It was found further that availability and similarity play different roles in determining acceptance of same‐gender or opposite‐gender peers by boys and by girls. These results were replicated over four levels of intimacy and four different student attributes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1944-1964
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Applied Social Psychology
Issue number21
StatePublished - Nov 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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