Publication details

Exploring effects of socioeconomic status on formation of peer relationships in lower-secondary classrooms with ERGMs



Year of publication 2021
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description Peer relationships in lower-secondary classrooms play an important part in students’ both academic and personal lives. Good peer relationships in classroom were found to positively influence students’ emotional well-being, school engagement, and academic achievement (e.g. Wentzel, 2017). It is therefore important to pay attention to aspects influencing formation of peer relationships, as understanding these aspects may help to alleviate negative effects stemming from poor peer relationships. In the present study, exponential random graph models are used to investigate aspects influencing formation of both likeability and antipathy ties in Czech lower-secondary schools with a special focus on the role on socioeconomic status. The study uses cross-sectional data from 435 students in 21 classrooms from 14 lower-secondary schools. Separate models are used for likeability and antipathy relationships. The results from the individual classrooms are pooled in meta-analyses using maximum likelihood estimation, which yield estimates of the overall effects across the classrooms. The effect sizes in the individual classrooms are also compared and put into perspective of potentially relevant interactions between the effects of SES and other effects. Unfortunately, the number of classrooms (N = 21) does not allow for meta-regression procedures, therefore, the resulting comparison is purely descriptive and does not aim to model the dependencies between the effects. The results suggest that high-SES students tend to receive more likeability ties and less antipathy ties compared to others – SES popularity effects. The pooled models do not suggest tendency of students to give preference to same-SES peers, however, SES homophily is borderline-significant in 7 of the 21 sample classrooms. Additionally, the results support previous findings (e.g. Goodreau et al., 2009) that students tend to form gender-homophilous likeability ties with an opposite effect for antipathy ties; more likely to have both likeability and antipathy ties reciprocated; more likely to form transitive ties; and more likely to send disproportionately high number of both likeability and antipathy ties towards a small number of peers i.e., to create highly centralized networks. Compared to most previous studies, however, the effects sizes in this study are smaller. It is argued that this is a result of more complete model specifications used in this study. Finally, the effects of SES popularity and SES homophily seem to be related to the effect of reciprocity, with networks with high reciprocity effect not influenced by the effects of SES.
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