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Peer Interactions, Relationships and Groups. Susan Brockmeyer November 4, 2004 (Use of these slides requires the information contained in the attached notes below each slide). Overview. Defining what Peer Relationships, Interactions and Groups are the study of

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peer interactions relationships and groups

Peer Interactions, Relationships and Groups

Susan Brockmeyer

November 4, 2004

(Use of these slides requires the information contained in the attached notes below each slide)

  • Defining what Peer Relationships, Interactions and Groups are the study of
  • How each changes from infancy through adolescence
  • Other influencing factors to consider
      • Development of Social Skills
      • Development of Social Competence
      • Parenting Influences
what is the study of peer interactions the study of
What is the Study of Peer Interactions the Study of?
  • Interactions- the interweaving of behaviors of two individuals into a social exchange of some duration
  • An interaction often occurs between two people who are of influence to one another
  • Researchers are focused on the origins and consequences of:
      • moving toward others
      • moving against others
      • moving away from others
  • Children vary behavioral interactions depending on several things
what is the study of peer relationships the study of
What is the Study of Peer Relationships the Study of?
  • Relationships- a succession of interactions between two individuals known to each other, who have a history of interaction
  • In children’s peer relationships the type of relationship most commonly studied is the dyadic friendship.
  • Since these individuals are known to each other the nature and course of each interaction are influenced by:
    • the history of past interactions
    • their expectations for interactions in the future
relationships have more than one facet
Relationships Have More Than One Facet
  • The degree of closeness of a relationship is determined by:
    • the frequency and strength of influence
    • the diversity of influence across different behaviors
    • the length of time the relationship has endured
  • How do we define social interactions as a relationship?

By the predominant emotions associated with them:

      • affection
      • love
      • attachment
      • level of commitment (Hinde, 1979)
what is the study of peer groups the study of
What is the study of Peer Groups the study of?
  • Groups- a collection of interacting individuals who have some degree of reciprocal influence over one another (Hinde, 1979).
  • Group Properties:
    • Cohesiveness
    • Hierarchy
    • Heterogeneity
    • Norms
how do peer interactions relationships and groups develop over the lifespan
How do Peer Interactions, Relationships and Groups Develop over the Lifespan?
  • What Changes?
    • Interactions- changes in the frequency or forms of specific behaviors
    • Relationships-changesin the qualities of friendships or patterns of involvement in friendships
    • Groups- changes in the configurations of and involvement in cliques and crowds
what do these look like in infancy and toddlerhood
What Do These Look Like in Infancy and Toddlerhood?
  • Interactions - most infant interactions are diffuse and fragmented. However they do exhibit signs of interactions with peers.
  • Toddlers are more able to engage in social exchanges due to vocalization and locomotion. Play becomes organized around particular themes or games.
  • Relationships - Toddlers seem to be more likely to initiate play with familiar peers (Howes, 1988)
  • Groups - group interaction is probably not salient to or influential on very young children.
what develops in early childhood
What Develops in Early Childhood?
  • Interactions - peer interaction increases and becomes more complex.
  • Relationships - children do express preferences for some peers over others as playmates. They often direct positive social behaviors to these friends and have more quarrels with them than with non-friends.
  • Groups - research on preschool playgroups has focused on the importance of dominance in determining rank within the group.
what develops in middle childhood and preadolescence
What develops in Middle Childhood and Preadolescence?
  • Interactions- the proportion of time spent in social interaction increases and the peer group size usually increases.
  • Relationships - Children go through a stage where shared values and rules become important and friends are expected to stick up for and be loyal to one another.
  • Groups - participation in cliques develops (Crockett, Losoff, & Peterson, 1984). Other organizational features include the popularity hierarchy. Children start to appreciate their own and other’s popularity. Evaluations are made in relation to others.
what develops in adolescence
What Develops in Adolescence?
  • Interactions - less adult guidance and a continued trend toward increased time spent with peers
  • Relationships - friendship includes the acceptance of autonomy and independence, also the understanding that individuals need to develop relationships with other third parties also.
  • Groups - a general loosening of “clique” associations. Integration of the sexes in group composition.
  • Emergence of crowds (B. Brown, 1990)
conclusions as to the nature of children s peer experiences changing with age
Conclusions As to the Nature of Children’s Peer Experiences Changing With Age

Attributed to four factors:

  • Intrapersonal changes- growth in interpersonal understanding and concern
  • Interpersonal changes- changes in the frequency or form of specific behaviors
  • Dyadic relationships- changes in qualities of friendships or patterns of involvement in friendship
  • Group changes - changes in configurations of and involvement in cliques and crowds
a consideration of other influencing factors
A Consideration of other Influencing Factors…
  • Social Skills-discrete behaviors that lead children to solve social tasks or achieve social success
  • Examples of Social Skills:

(a) understand the thoughts, emotions and intentions of others

(b) abstract information about the social partner and the setting

in which the interaction is to take place

(c) generate various means by which to strike up a conversation

or interaction, to maintain it and to end it positively

(d) understand consequences of one’s social actions for the self

as well as for the other

(e) make mature moral judgments that serve to guide social


(f) behave positively and altruistically

more influencing factors
More Influencing Factors…
  • Social Competence- several definitions exist. Just to name a few:
    • “an organism’s capacity to interact effectively with its environment” (White, 1959)
    • “an individual’s everyday effectiveness in dealing with his environment” (Zigler, 1073)
    • “attainment of relevant social goals in specified social contexts, using appropriate means and resulting in positive developmental outcomes” (Ford, 1982)
    • The ability “to make use of environmental and personal resources to achieve a good developmental outcome” (Waters & Sroufe, 1983)
the role of parents
The Role of Parents

The parental role serves three basic functions:

  • The interactions between parent and child help develop the competencies necessary for social interaction
  • The parent-child relationship creates a place where the child can explore/test social interactions safely thereby developing social skills
  • Expectations and assumptions about interactions and relationships are formed
internal working models and development of social skills
Internal Working Models and Development of Social Skills
  • The secure base relationship fosters (Elicker, Englund, & Sroufe, 1992):
    • Positive Social Expectations
    • Reciprocity
    • Sense of self-worth and self-efficacy
  • Secure vs. Insecure Attachment and Influences on Social Development

Parents can also influence the development of

social behaviors through

  • Providing peer contact opportunities
  • Monitoring peer encounters
  • Coaching child to deal competently with interpersonal tasks
  • Disciplining unacceptable, maladaptive behaviors
  • Interactions are the braiding of behaviors of two individuals into a social exchange of some duration. This becomes more complex over time with a trend toward independence and greater time spent with peers.
  • Relationships form from successive interactions between two individuals known to each other. They increase in intimacy and self disclosure with time. In addition, they facilitate the growth of self-identities.
  • Groups are a collection of individuals who have some degree of reciprocal influence over one another. They move from cliques to crowds, which involve both sexes and are defined by primary attitudes and activities of their members.
  • The formation of healthy development is contingent upon the successful attainment of positive social skills and good social competence
  • The building blocks to the formation of positive social interactions rests, in part, in the parenting we receive and our relationship with our primary caregiver

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