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J Youth Adolesc. 2011 Jun;40(6):694-706. doi: 10.1007/s10964-010-9585-7. Epub 2010 Sep 5.

Associations of parental and peer characteristics with adolescents' social dominance orientation.

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Center for Gifted Education, The College of William and Mary, PO Box 8795, Williamsburg, VA 23187, USA.


Studies with adults of social dominance orientation (SDO), a preference for inequality among social groups, have found correlations with various prejudices and support for discriminatory practices. This study explores the construct among adolescents at an age when they are beginning to recognize the social groups in their environment, particularly adolescent crowds. The relationship of SDO and perceptions of parents' responsiveness and demandingness were also investigated. Subjects were in grades 9-12 (N = 516, 53% female, 96% White). Mother's and father's responsiveness significantly predicted adolescent's SDO scores, with greater perceived responsiveness associated with lower SDO. To analyze the multiple crowd memberships of the 76% belonging to more than one crowd, two-step cluster analysis was used to identify patterns, resulting in 8 clusters of distinct, heterogeneous composition. SDO differed significantly among males in different clusters, but not females. The importance of membership was positively associated with SDO among high-status crowds and negatively associated with SDO among the academic and normal crowds. The findings have implications for prejudices that may be developing in adolescence and indicate a need for further research into the social context of SDO and its development.

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