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Peer Influences

  1. David W. Johnson,
  2. Roger T. Johnson

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0652

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Johnson, D. W. and Johnson, R. T. 2010. Peer Influences. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–3.

Author Information

  1. University of Minnesota

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


High-quality relationships are important for all aspects of the development and well-being of children and adolescents. Traditionally, the relationships between children and adults have been viewed as the most important vehicle for ensuring effective socialization and development. Child–child relationships are assumed to be, at best, relatively unimportant and, at worst, unhealthy influences. Such views are mistaken. Prominent theorists such as Sigmund Freud, George H. Mead, Jean Piaget, Erik Erikson, and Lawrence Kohlberg have argued that high-quality peer relationships are essential for an individual's development, socialization, and well-being, and hundreds of research studies have validated these views. Young people acquire competencies, attitudes, values, and perspectives in encounters with peers as they strive to occupy a comfortable niche within their peer culture. Compared with interactions with adults, interactions with peers tend to be more frequent, more intense, and more varied. Some of the more important consequences and correlates of peer influences are discussed in this article. Specific research studies supporting the statements to follow may be found in Johnson 1980, 2009, Ladd (1999), and Prinstein and Dodge (2008).


  • adolescent identity formation;
  • affective development;
  • bonding and attachment;
  • development of human social behavior;
  • middle childhood