Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Andrew F. Newcomb

Second Advisor

Dr. Joanne C. Preston


The present study investigated high school leadership at two independent high schools using a peer nomination technique. Seniors nominate classmates who best fit each of 20 items indexing attributes of business world leaders. The seniors also nominated students they liked most and liked least. The leadership attributes were conceptualized to fit into four constructs: Other oriented, Inner oriented, Situationally oriented, and Derailment characteristics. The like most and like least items were used for measuring social impact and social preference and for classifying students into the sociometric groups of popular, controversial, rejected, neglected, and average. Test-retest correlations at a one month interval on the leadership constructs and sociometric indices ranged from .65 to .93. One-way analysis of variance revealed that student leaders vs. nonleaders had higher scores on the four leadership constructs, the social acceptance index, and the social impact scale. In addition, the leader group included more controversial and popular students than the nonleader group. A sub-analysis of the leaders revealed a clear and consistent differentiation between controversial leaders and popular, rejected, neglected, and average leaders. The construct validity and stability of the measures, differences between leaders and nonleaders, and differences among the leaders were discussed. Future research examining informal leaders and controversial leaders was suggested.

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Psychology Commons