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A peer group is a group of approximately the same age, social status, and interests[1]. Generally, people are relatively equal in terms of power when they interact with peers.

Developmental Psychology

Developmental psychologists Vygotsky, Piaget, and Sullivan have all argued that peer relationships provide a unique context for cognitive, social, and emotional development, with equality, reciprocity, cooperation, and intimacy maturing and enhancing children's reasoning abilities and concern for others. Modern research echoes these sentiments, showing that social and emotional gains are indeed provided by peer interaction[1].

Peer pressure

The term 'peer pressure' is often used to describe instances where an individual feels indirectly pressured into changing their behaviour to match that of their peers. Taking up smoking or consuming alcohol underage are two of the best known examples.

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 Siegler, Robert (2006). How Childred Develop, Exploring Child Develop Student Media Tool Kit & Scientific American Reader to Accompany How Children Develop. New York: Worth Publishers. ISBN 0716761130.

Further reading

  • Cillessen, A. H. N., & Bukowski, W. M. (2000). Conceptualizing and measuring peer acceptance and rejection. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
  • Cillessen, A. H. N., & Bukowski, W. M. (2000). Recent advances in the measurement of acceptance and rejection in the peer system. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
  • Cillessen, A. H. N., & Mayeux, L. (2004). Sociometric status and peer group behavior: Previous findings and current directions. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
  • Collot d'Escury-Koenigs, A. M., & Guerand, I. M. (1992). "What you say you are yourself": Sociometry as the evaluation and interpretation of interpersonal judgments of peer group members: Nederlands Tijdschrift voor de Psychologie en haar Grensgebieden Vol 47(1) Jan 1992, 24-30.
  • Kindermann, T. (1998). Children's development within peer groups: Using composite social maps to identify peer networks and to study their influences. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
  • An evolutionary perspective on children's motivation in the peer group. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 19(1), 53-73. Full text
  • Bona Fide Group Theory: A descriptive format for understanding group dynamics. Theory Overview

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