Goldweber, A., Cauffman, E., & Cillessen, A. H. N. (2014). Peer status among incarcerated female offenders: Associations with social behavior and adjustment. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 24(4), 720-733.
Peers are a powerful socializing force, especially during adolescence. Whether peer status holds the same meaning, correlates, and consequences for female offenders remains unknown. Using a peer nomination technique in a sample of incarcerated females (N = 86, age 15–24 years), our study is the first to examine the association between peer status and psychopathology in a correctional facility. Results indicated that a key indicator of likeability was prosocial behavior; popularity was related to leadership; and social impact was associated with aggression. Popularity might serve as a buffer against, and social impact as a risk factor for, psychosocial problems. Findings shed light on peer status as a mechanism underpinning female offenders’ problem behaviors and an entry point for targeted interventions.