Friendly Girls and Mean Girls: Social Constructions of Popularity among Teenage Girls in Shanghai

Justin Xi, Laurence Owens, Huarun Feng

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    5 Citations (Scopus)


    Two different research traditions in the West see popularity defined either sociometrically, as being well-liked, or in a peer-perceived way as being publically visible and having social status and influence. Recent Q studies in Australia and England have supported the public prestige conception of popularity but we do not know how teenagers in Asian cultures view popularity. The current study used Q methodology and individual interviews to investigate the social constructions of popularity among 53 (16- to 19-year old) girls from two schools in Shanghai. Q factor analysis revealed one common perspective-popular girls were considered to be friendly and pro-social, while unpopular girls were characterized by relational aggression and self-centeredness. The interview data indicated that among Shanghai girls, the popularity concept was more related to peer acceptance than to social influence. The differences in the features of popular girls in this Shanghai-based study and teenage girls in Western studies are discussed.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)42-53
    Number of pages12
    JournalJapanese Psychological Research
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016


    • Adolescent girls
    • Individual interviews
    • Popularity
    • Q method


    Dive into the research topics of 'Friendly Girls and Mean Girls: Social Constructions of Popularity among Teenage Girls in Shanghai'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this