Associations of coolness and social goals with aggression and engagement during adolescence

Sarah M. Kiefer, Joy Huanhuan Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


This study examined associations of coolness and social goals with aggression and academic engagement, and whether social goals and gender moderated associations across the fall and spring of sixth grade (first year of middle school). Students (N = 347; 49% females) self-reported social goals (popularity, dominance, intimacy) and engagement (involved, disruptive behavior) and peer-reported coolness and aggression (overt, relational). Results indicated relations of coolness and social goals with subsequent aggression and engagement, and goals and gender moderated associations. Cool youth who endorsed intimacy goals had higher overt aggression; cool boys with low popularity goals or high dominance goals had higher overt aggression. Cool youth endorsing dominance goals and cool girls endorsing popularity goals had higher relational aggression. Cool youth and boys endorsing dominance goals reported lower involved behavior. Youth endorsing popularity goals and cool youth endorsing dominance goals reported higher disruptive behavior. Implications for examining adolescent coolness and social motivation are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)52-62
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Applied Developmental Psychology
StatePublished - May 1 2016


  • Academic engagement
  • Aggression
  • Coolness
  • Middle school
  • Social goals


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