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Dominance Hierarchies in Groups of Early Adolescents

Ritch C. Savin-Williams
Child Development
Vol. 50, No. 4 (Dec., 1979), pp. 923-935
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Society for Research in Child Development
DOI: 10.2307/1129316
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1129316
Page Count: 13
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Dominance Hierarchies in Groups of Early Adolescents
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Abstract

By using behavioral observations and sociometric methods, a stable dominance hierarchy was found in 8 groups of 12- to 14-year-old male and female adolescents at a summer camp. Status position was relatively stable over time and across behavior settings. For both sexes the dominance hierarchy correlated significantly with the rank orderings of pubertal maturation, athletic ability, and group leadership. There were notable sex differences in the specific behaviors utilized to assert dominance and in the stability of the dominance hierarchy; the group structure in female cabins was more likely to fluctuate over time and in accordance to situational events. The dominance hierarchy appears to foster a reduction in intragroup antagonism, to focus division of labor responsibilities, to distribute any scarce resources, and to provide knowledge of where one's place is among peers.

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