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Ego Development and Peer Friendship Networks

Stephen Hansell
Sociology of Education
Vol. 54, No. 1 (Jan., 1981), pp. 51-63
DOI: 10.2307/2112512
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2112512
Page Count: 13
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Ego Development and Peer Friendship Networks
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Abstract

This study investigated the relationship between ego development and the structure of students' friendships. Based on ego development theory, the reciprocation of friendship choices in dyads was predicted to peak at middle ego development levels and be lower at high and low levels of ego development. Friendship choices between peer cliques were expected to be low at middle range ego levels but high at the higher and lower ego levels. Results supported these hypotheses for girls only, suggesting a sex difference in the importance of peer friendship structures for personality development. Girls at high ego development levels also had unique roles as liaisons between cliques, while having fewer reciprocated friendships in dyads. These results challenge the assumption that greater reciprocation in dyads represents the most developed structure of peer friendship relations, and raise questions about the role of peer friendships in student personality development.

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