Adolescent peer group identification and characteristics: a review of the literature

Addict Behav. 2007 Aug;32(8):1602-27. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2006.11.018. Epub 2006 Dec 26.


This study provides an exhaustive review of 44 peer-reviewed quantitative or qualitative data-based peer-reviewed studies completed on adolescent peer group identification. Adolescent peer group identification is one's self-perceived or other-perceived membership in discrete teenage peer groups. The studies reviewed suggest that adolescent peer groups consist of five general categories differentiable by lifestyle characteristics: Elites, Athletes, Academics, Deviants, and Others. We found that the Deviant adolescent group category reported relatively greater participation in drug use and other problem behaviors across studies, whereas Academics and Athletes exhibited the least participation in these problem behaviors. Additional research is needed in this arena to better understand the operation of adolescent group labels.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Peer Group*
  • Self Concept*
  • Social Identification*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires