Peer Interactions, Relationships, and Groups

Social, Emotional, and Personality Development

  1. Kenneth H. Rubin1,
  2. William M. Bukowski2,
  3. Jeffrey G. Parker3

Published Online: 1 JUN 2007

DOI: 10.1002/9780470147658.chpsy0310

Handbook of Child Psychology

Handbook of Child Psychology

How to Cite

Rubin, K. H., Bukowski, W. M. and Parker, J. G. 2007. Peer Interactions, Relationships, and Groups. Handbook of Child Psychology. III:10.

Author Information

  1. 1

    Center for Children, Relationships, and Culture, Department of Human Development, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, USA

  2. 2

    Department of Psychology, Concordia University, Montreal, QC, Canada

  3. 3

    Department of Psychology, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 1 JUN 2007


The chapter begins with a distinction made between the interactions children have with peers, the relationships they form with peers, and the groups and networks within which peer interactions and relationships occur. From this conceptual overview, a review of relevant theories is presented. Thereafter, a developmental perspective of peer interactions, relationships, and groups is presented covering the periods of infancy, toddlerhood, early childhood, middle childhood, and adolescence. Subsequently, methods and measures pertaining to the study of children's peer experiences are described. Next, we examine factors that may account for peer acceptance and rejection as well as qualitatively rich and poor friendships. Among the factors discussed are included temperament (biological factors), sex of child, parenting, parent-child relationships, and culture. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the extent to which individual differences in peer acceptance, rejection and friendship (prevalence and quality) predict adaptive and maladaptive developmental outcomes and a suggested agenda for future research.


  • friendship;
  • peer interactions;
  • peer relationships;
  • peer rejection;
  • social acceptance;
  • social competence