Purdue University Graduate School
Dissertation_MengqianShen_Final.pdf (860.1 kB)

Peer Relationships and Chinese Adolescents' Academic Achievement: Processes of Selection and Influence

Download (860.1 kB)
posted on 2022-06-16, 12:56 authored by Mengqian ShenMengqian Shen

Similarity in academic achievement among friends (i.e., academic homophily) can arise from two processes, selection and influence. This study applied stochastic actor-based modeling using SIENA to disentangle friendship selection and social influence regarding academic achievement of Chinese adolescents in a three-year longitudinal sample of 880 middle school students (400 girls, year 1 mean age = 13.33) and 525 high school students (284 girls, year 1 mean age = 16.45). SIENA analyses revealed significant selection and influence effects pertaining to academic achievement for both middle school students and high school students across three years. Chinese adolescents preferred friendships with similarly achieving or higher achieving peers but avoided friendships with lower achieving peers. Friends’ influence on academic achievement can be both beneficial and detrimental. Chinese adolescents were more likely to increase in achievement when they befriended high-achieving peers, but decreased achievement when they were friends with low-achieving peers. There were no significant sex differences or school year differences (i.e., the first to second years versus the second to third years) in selection or influence effects for academic achievement. Influence effects were stronger for middle school students than for high school students, but no significant grade level differences emerged for selection effects. This study expands upon prior research by simultaneously assessing selection and influence effects on academic achievement and further examining the direction and strength of selection and influence processes regarding academic achievement using sophisticated modeling analyses. These results provide insights into the important role of cultural context in peer relationships and academic development by considering the strong pressure Chinese adolescents experience to be academically successful.


Degree Type

  • Doctor of Philosophy


  • Human Development and Family Studies

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Doran French

Additional Committee Member 2

German Posada

Additional Committee Member 3

Robert Duncan

Additional Committee Member 4

Seungyoon Lee

Usage metrics



    Ref. manager