Social networks of teenagers
Social Networks of Teenagers
This project is aimed at studying social interaction between high school students. Using methods of Social Network Analysis, we examine interactions between teenagers (friendships, helping others, hostility, bullying, social exclusion and popularity), identify parameters of the social environment in classes and schools, and describe the social processes of peer pressure.
This project puts forward a range of research questions. How exactly do teenagers choose their friends? Why are some students popular, but others get rejected by their peers? Why in some classes all students are friends, but in other classes the network of friendships gets broken up into separate cliques? What unites teenagers in a clique: their common dislike of the school or similar tastes in music? Why does smoking help them to make new friends, but drinking doesn’t? Do aggressive teenagers become popular? Does victimization lead to social isolation? How do students build their relationships in multinational classes?
For this research, we have analyzed cross-sectional data on the interactions between 10,200 pupils from schools and gymnasia in St. Petersburg, and 7,400 pupils from schools of the Moscow region, as well as on longitudinal network data on 700 students from four colleges of St. Petersburg. The longitudinal study began at the point when students got enrolled into their colleges, and it will last till their graduation in May 2016.
This material has already been used in several research papers that cover different aspects of social relations between teenagers. Incorporation of children into friendship networks has been examined in the paper “Inter-Ethnic Dialogue in Russian Schools: a Study by the Methods of Dyad Network Analysis" (V. Ivaniushina and D. Alexandrov). It presents a study of friendships in classes with mixed ethnic composition. The results of the network analysis have shown that teenagers form their friendships without any regard for their ethnicity. The paper shows that in Russian schools, the children of migrants don’t get discriminated against by their ethnic majority peers. The paper “The Anti-School Culture and Social Networks of High School Students" (V. Ivaniushina and D. Alexandrov) examines the peer influence on the academic performance of students, and the paper “Popularity of Students and Educational Environment in the School" (V. Titkova, V. Ivaniushina, and D. Alexandrov) shows that teenagers do not always assign importance to the academic achievements of their peers.
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