Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Status Of Adolescent Peer Groups Plays Role In Understanding Groups Influence On Early Teen Behavior

Date:
July 23, 2007
Source:
Society for Research in Child Development
Summary:
Researchers found that the peer group a child belongs to has differential effects on deviant, aggressive, and prosocial behavior. A study of 526 children in grades 5 through 8 revealed that children in the "cool" group were more likely influenced by their friends than children in groups that are well-liked. The findings imply that being a part of the popular group may have some benefits, but also may increase risky behavior and social aggression.

Researchers found that the peer group a child belongs to has differential effects on deviant, aggressive, and prosocial behavior. A study of 526 children in grades 5 through 8 revealed that children in the "cool" group were more likely influenced by their friends than children in groups that are well-liked.

Related Articles


The findings imply that being a part of the popular group may have some benefits, but also may increase risky behavior and social aggression. Children who are part of the cool group are more likely to be influenced by their friends than children who are friends with peers who are kind, nice, and well-liked.

Acknowledging that by early adolescence, peer groups have a significant influence on children's behavior, researchers at the University of Western Ontario sought to determine whether some peer groups are more influential than others. Specifically, they contrasted the effects of two types of peer group status on youngsters' deviant, aggressive, and prosocial behavior. The first type of group (group centrality) had children who were cool and popular. The second type (group liking) was made up of the kind, nice children everyone likes.

The researchers looked at 526 Canadian children in grades 5 through 8 who reported on their deviant behavior (such as theft and skipping school) and identified peer groups in their grade. The children also were asked to nominate classmates in their grade who were physically aggressive (children who started fights), social aggressive (children who excluded others), prosocial (children who were kind to others), and whom they liked the most and the least. The children, whose average age was 12, identified 116 peer groups.

Over a three-month period, the researchers found that the children generally tended to become more similar in behavior to the others in their group. However, this occurred to a much greater extent in popular groups than in well-liked groups. Children's strong desire to belong to a popular group, together with pressure from group members to conform to group norms, may account for the profound influence of such groups. Group liking affected adolescents' behavior only when groups were disliked; members of deviant disliked groups became more deviant over time, the researchers found.

"Our results have important practical implications," suggested Wendy E. Ellis, assistant professor of psychology at King's University College at the University of Western Ontario and the study's lead author. "Although being a member of a popular group may bring benefits such as positive social behavior and esteem, potential costs include higher rates of risky behavior and social aggression. Preservation of popular status may propel group members beyond the boundaries of acceptable behavior, and high motivation to belong to popular groups may cause group members to resist adult intervention attempts.

"In the long-term, however, popular group members may fare better than disliked children in deviant groups who have little exposure to prosocial behavior models and poor social relationships."

The study was published in the July/August 2007 issue of the journal Child Development.

Reference:  Child Development, Vol. 78, Issue 4, Peer Group Status as a Moderator of Group Influence on Children's Deviant, Aggressive and Prosocial Behavior by Ellis, WE, and Zarbatany, L (the University of Western Ontario).


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Society for Research in Child Development. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Society for Research in Child Development. "Status Of Adolescent Peer Groups Plays Role In Understanding Groups Influence On Early Teen Behavior." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 July 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070720100015.htm>.
Society for Research in Child Development. (2007, July 23). Status Of Adolescent Peer Groups Plays Role In Understanding Groups Influence On Early Teen Behavior. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 26, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070720100015.htm
Society for Research in Child Development. "Status Of Adolescent Peer Groups Plays Role In Understanding Groups Influence On Early Teen Behavior." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070720100015.htm (accessed January 26, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Monday, January 26, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How Technology Is Ruining Snow Days For Students

How Technology Is Ruining Snow Days For Students

Newsy (Jan. 25, 2015) — More schools are using online classes to keep from losing time to snow days, but it only works if students have Internet access at home. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Weird Things Couples Do When They Lose Their Phone

Weird Things Couples Do When They Lose Their Phone

BuzzFeed (Jan. 24, 2015) — Did you back it up? Do you even know how to do that? Video provided by BuzzFeed
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smart Wristband to Shock Away Bad Habits

Smart Wristband to Shock Away Bad Habits

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Jan. 23, 2015) — A Boston start-up is developing a wristband they say will help users break bad habits by jolting them with an electric shock. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Amazing Technology Allows Blind Mother to See Her Newborn Son

Amazing Technology Allows Blind Mother to See Her Newborn Son

RightThisMinute (Jan. 23, 2015) — Not only is Kathy seeing her newborn son for the first time, but this is actually the first time she has ever seen a baby. Kathy and her sister, Yvonne, have been legally blind since childhood, but thanks to an amazing new technology, eSight glasses, which gives those who are legally blind the ability to see, she got the chance to see the birth of her son. It&apos;s an incredible moment and an even better story. Video provided by RightThisMinute
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins