Conceptions and perceived influence of peer groups: interviews with preadolescents and adolescents

Child Dev. 1988 Oct;59(5):1360-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.1988.tb01504.x.


72 fifth-, eighth-, and eleventh-grade boys and girls were interviewed to investigate developmental changes in perceptions of peer groups and group influence. Results indicated that preadolescents defined groups on the basis of common activities and social behavior and considered group influence to be greatest in these domains. Older adolescents were more likely to describe peer-group influence as global and far reaching, affecting one's appearance, illicit acts, attitudes, and values. Corresponding to increases in peer-group conceptions emphasizing group attitudes/norms and global influence were increases in the extent to which subjects felt that peer-group acceptance or rejection influenced self-evaluation. Developmental changes in the apparent reference-group functions of peer groups for adolescent identity formation are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior
  • Child
  • Child Development
  • Emotions
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Peer Group*
  • Psychology, Adolescent*
  • Rejection, Psychology
  • Self Concept
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Behavior*
  • Social Identification*