In this chapter, we review analytic strategies for examining various aspects of peer relations across cultures. Specifically, we review techniques of comparing measures across cultural contexts, with an emphasis on means and covariance structures (MACS) analysis. We then describe the comparisons of mean levels, variances, and covariances across cultures using this approach. Next, we describe techniques of examining intercultural perception and interaction using the social relations model, an underutilized approach in studying youths' peer relations. Finally, we briefly discuss some other analytic approaches and offer our view of the state of the art and future directions for analyzing cross-cultural peer relations data.
Comparing Cultures – Measurement
Given that there is little consensus regarding the measurement of group-level status (e.g., peer acceptance and rejection, perceived popularity and rejection, victimization), dyadic relationships of liking (e.g., friendships, romantic relationships) and disliking (e.g., enemies, mutual antipathies), and interpersonal behaviors (e.g., aggression, prosocial behaviors, interpersonal withdrawal) even within cultures predominantly studied by peer relations researchers (i.e., primarily White, English-speaking youths), it is little wonder that measuring these constructs across cultures poses significant challenges. Although it is beyond the scope of this chapter to attempt to define these constructs or to offer specific suggestions for how these may be assessed in specific cultures, we wish to remind readers of the importance of this process. No amount of analytic sophistication can remedy problematic operationalization of a construct (though the methods we describe next can evaluate the success of cross-cultural measurement of a construct).