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Conceptions and Perceived Influence of Peer Groups: Interviews with Preadolescents and Adolescents

Susan F. O'Brien and Karen Linn Bierman
Child Development
Vol. 59, No. 5 (Oct., 1988), pp. 1360-1365
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Society for Research in Child Development
DOI: 10.2307/1130498
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1130498
Page Count: 6
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Conceptions and Perceived Influence of Peer Groups: Interviews with Preadolescents and Adolescents
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Abstract

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.

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