Understanding Peer Influence in Children and Adolescents (Hardback) book cover

Understanding Peer Influence in Children and Adolescents

Edited by Mitchell J. Prinstein, Kenneth A. Dodge

© 2008 – Guilford Press

255 pages

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Scientists, educators, and parents of teens have long recognized the potency of peer influences on children and youth, but until recently, questions of how and why adolescents emulate their peers were largely overlooked. This book presents a comprehensive framework for understanding the processes by which peers shape each other's attitudes and behavior, and explores implications for intervention and prevention. Leading authorities share compelling findings on such topics as how drug use, risky sexual behavior, and other deviant behaviors "catch on" among certain peer groups or cliques; the social, cognitive, developmental, and contextual factors that strengthen or weaken the power of peer influence; and the nature of positive peer influences and how to support them.


"The topic of peer influences has long been important to the field. This remarkable volume from distinguished editors and contributors proposes original and compelling conceptual models that will elucidate peer influence processes for researchers and students alike. In addition, many of the authors discuss general and specific implications of their work for prevention and intervention programs. This book would be an excellent text for advanced undergraduates, master's students, and beginning doctoral students in developmental, educational, school, and clinical psychology."--W. Andrew Collins, PhD, Morse-Alumni Distinguished Teaching Professor, Institute of Child Development, University of Minnesota

"This volume brings together leading researchers to piece together the puzzle of peer influences, highlighting their mechanisms, moderators, contexts, and the potential for interventions that capitalize on positive peer processes. With this understanding, we can begin to consider the developmental supports that children and youth require individually and collectively to promote social adaptation. The picture of peer processes emerging from this volume is critical to informing the strategies and policies of a broad range of professionals responsible for children and youth."--Debra Pepler, PhD, LaMarsh Centre for Research on Violence and Conflict Resolution, York University

"While it has long been known that adolescents influence one another, insufficient attention has been given to how, where, and when these influences occur. This first-rate volume considers the mechanisms and processes involved in peer influence from a variety of conceptual and theoretical viewpoints and presents a fascinating sampling of new research."--Willard W. Hartup, EdD, Regents' Professor Emeritus, Institute of Child Development, University of Minnesota

Table of Contents

I. Introduction

1. Current Issues in Peer Influence Research, Mitchell J. Prinstein and Kenneth A. Dodge

II. Peer Influence Mechanisms

2. A Comprehensive Conceptualization of the Peer Influence Process in Adolescence, B. Bradford Brown, Jeremy P. Bakken, Suzanne W. Ameringer, and Shelly D. Mahon

3. Cognitive Social Influence: Moderation, Mediation, Modification, and…the Media, Frederick X. Gibbons, Elizabeth A. Pomery, and Meg Gerrard

4. Dynamics and Ecology of Adolescent Peer Influence, Thomas J. Dishion, Timothy F. Piehler, and Michael W. Myers

5. Deviance Regulation Theory: Applications to Adolescent Social Influence, Hart Blanton and Melissa Burkley

III. Altering Peer Influence Effects: Moderators and Interventions

6. Variation in Patterns of Peer Influence: Considerations of Self and Other, William M. Bukowski, Ana Maria Velasquez, and Mara Brendgen

7. Adolescent Peer Influences: Beyond the Dark Side, Joseph P. Allen and Jill Antonishak

8. Mobilizing and Weakening Peer Influence as Mechanisms for Changing Behavior: Implications for Alcohol Intervention Programs, Deborah A. Prentice

9. Identity Signaling, Social Influence, and Social Contagion, Jonah Berger

IV. Underexplored Contexts for Potential Peer Influence Effects

10. Homophily in Adolescent Romantic Relationships, Wyndol Furman and Valerie A. Simon

11. Peer Influence in Involuntary Social Groups: Lessons from Research on Bullying, Jaana Juvonen and Adriana Galván

About the Editors

Mitchell J. Prinstein, PhD, is Associate Professor and Director of Clinical Psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His research examines interpersonal models of internalizing symptoms and health-risk behaviors among adolescents, with a focus on the unique role of peer relationships in the developmental psychopathology of depression, self-injury, and suicidality. Currently an Associate Editor of the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology and a member of the National Institutes of Health’s Study Section on Psychosocial Development, Risk, and Prevention, Dr. Prinstein is a recipient of the Blau Early Career Award from the Society of Clinical Psychology of the American Psychological Association (APA). He is a Fellow of the APA Society of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology.


Kenneth A. Dodge, PhD, is the William McDougall Professor of Public Policy and Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at Duke University, and Director of the Duke Center for Child and Family Policy. He is interested in how problem behaviors such as chronic violence, school failure, drug use, and child abuse develop across the lifespan; how they can be prevented; and how communities can implement policies to prevent these outcomes and promote children’s optimal development. Dr. Dodge has been honored with the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award from the APA; the Boyd McCandless Award from APA Division 7, Developmental Psychology; and the Senior Scientist Award from the National Institutes of Health. 

About the Series

Duke Series in Child Development and Public Policy

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