Within the school-class context, children attain a social position in the peer hierarchy to which varying amounts of status are attached. Studies have shown that peer status - i.e. the degree of acceptance and likeability among classmates - is associated with adult health. However, these studies have generally paid little attention to the fact that health problems are likely to coincide with other adverse circumstances within the individual. The overarching aim of the current study  was therefor to examine the impact of childhood peer status on the clustering of social, economic and health-related circumstances in adulthood. Using a 1953 cohort born in Stockholm, Sweden (n=14,294), four outcome profiles in adulthood were identified by means of latent class analysis: "Average", "Low education", "Unemployment" and "Social assistance recipiency and mental health problems". Multinomial regression analysis demonstrated that those with lower peer status had exceedingly higher risk of later ending up in the more adverse clusters. This association remained after adjusting for a variety of family-related and individual factors. We conclude that peer status constitutes a central aspect of children's upbrining with important consequences for life chances.

Reference

Almquist, Y.B. & Brännström, L. (Forthcoming) Childhood peer status and the clustering of social, economic and health-related circumstances in adulthood. Social Science and Medicine.