Popular Boys Show Their Tough Side

3:10pm, June 21, 2002

In the grueling social world of grade school, there's a flip side to a boy's popularity, a new study finds.

A small but influential contingent of boys in fourth to sixth grade attains popularity through a flair for physical intimidation, manipulating others, and disrupting classroom activities, say psychologist Philip C.

Rodkin of Duke University in Durham, N.C., and his coworkers. Although not particularly well-liked by a majority of their peers, these boys—dubbed "tough boys" by the researchers—command their own cliques and sit high on the junior social ladder.

"Model boys" take a contrasting route to popularity, Rodkin's group reports. These youngsters get along with others, do well in school and sports, and display leadership while respecting adult authority.

This article is available only to subscribing members. Join SSP today or Log in.

More from Science News