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15. A Topical Approach to. LIFE-SPAN DEVELOPMENT. Peers and the Sociocultural Word. John W. Santrock. Peers and the Sociocultural World. Peer Relations in Childhood and Adolescence Friendship Play and Leisure Aging and the Social World Sociocultural Influences.

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Life span development


A Topical Approach to


Peers and the Sociocultural Word

John W. Santrock

Peers and the sociocultural world
Peers and the Sociocultural World

  • Peer Relations in Childhood and Adolescence

  • Friendship

  • Play and Leisure

  • Aging and the Social World

  • Sociocultural Influences

Peer group functions

Peer Relations in Childhood and Adolescence

Peer Group Functions

  • Peers— individuals about the same age or maturity level

  • Peer groups provide source of information and comparison about world outside the family

  • Peer influences and evaluations can be negative or positive

Parent influences on peer relations

Peer Relations in Childhood and Adolescence

Parent Influences on Peer Relations

  • Choice of neighborhoods, churches, schools

  • Recommend strategies to handle disputes or become less shy

  • Encourage children to be tolerant or resist peer pressure

  • Provide emotional base from which to explore peer relations

Developmental changes

Peer Relations in Childhood and Adolescence

Developmental Changes

  • Early Childhood

    • Frequency of peer interaction increases

  • Middle/Late Childhood

    • Children spend increasing time in peer interaction

  • Average time spent

    • 10% of time spent with peers at age 2

    • 20% of time spent with peers at age 4

    • 40% of time spent with peers during ages 7-11

Social cognition

Peer Relations in Childhood and Adolescence

Social Cognition

  • Thoughts about social matters

    • 5 steps in processing information

      • Decode social cues

      • Interpret

      • Search for response

      • Select optimal response

      • Enact

    • Affects ability to get along with peers

Emotional regulation and peer relations

Peer Relations in Childhood and Adolescence

Emotional Regulation and Peer Relations

  • Greater peer rejection for moody, negative children

  • Emotional self-regulation enhances children’s social competence

  • Sociometric status: extent child is liked or disliked by peer group

Peer statuses

Peer Relations in Childhood and Adolescence

Peer Statuses

Frequently nominated as a best friend; rarely disliked by peers


Receive average number of positive and negative nominations from peers


Infrequently nominated as a best friend but not disliked by peers


Infrequently nominated as a best friend; actively disliked by peers


Frequently nominated as someone's best friend and as being disliked


Neglected and rejected children

Peer Relations in Childhood and Adolescence

Neglected and Rejected Children

  • Neglected children:

    • Low rates of peer interaction

    • Often described as shy

  • Rejected children

    • Have more serious adjustment problems

    • Less likely to engage in classroom participation

    • Show a desire to avoid school

    • More likely to be lonely

  • Not all rejected children are aggressive


Peer Relations in Childhood and Adolescence


  • Physical or verbal behavior with harmful intent

  • Significant numbers victimized

    • Boys and younger middle school students

    • Victims of bullies reported more loneliness and difficulty in making friends

    • Those who did the bullying more likely to have low grades, smoke and drink alcohol


Peer Relations in Childhood and Adolescence


  • To reduce bullying

    • Older peers serve as monitors and intervene

    • Develop school-wide rules and sanctions

    • Form friendship groups for victims

    • Spread anti-bullying message to community

    • Parents reinforce and model positive behaviors

    • Identify bullies and victims early

    • Provide professional help for bully and victim

Gender and peer relations

Peer Relations in Childhood and Adolescence

Gender and Peer Relations

  • Gender composition

    • From age 3, children prefer same-sex groups

  • Group size

    • From age 6, boys prefer larger groups

  • Interaction in same-sex groups

    • Boys: organized group games, rough-and-tumble

    • Girls: collaborative discourse

Adolescent peer relations

Peer Relations in Childhood and Adolescence

Adolescent Peer Relations

  • Peer pressure - peers play powerful roles

  • Cliques and crowds— to be liked and included

  • Peers play important role in individual development in all cultures

  • Cross-cultural comparisons

Six functions of friendship


Six Functions of Friendship

  • Companionship

  • Stimulation

  • Physical support

  • Ego support

  • Social comparison

  • Affection/intimacy

    • intimacy in friendship — self-disclosure and sharing of private thoughts

Friendship during childhood


Friendship during Childhood

  • Children use friends as cognitive and social resources

  • Not all friends and friendships are equal

    • Supportive friendships advantageous

    • Coercive, conflict-ridden friendships not

  • Friends generally similar — age, sex, ethnicity, and many other factors

Friendship during adolescence


Friendship during Adolescence

  • Need for intimacy intensifies

  • Quality of friendship more strongly linked to feelings of well-being

  • Important sources of support

  • Mixed-age friendships

  • Friends are active partners in building a sense of identity

Friendship during adolescence1


Friendship during Adolescence

  • Girls more intimate with friends than boys, more open in self-disclosures

  • More risk of delinquent behavior when friends are older, boys focus on power and excitement

  • Early maturers more at risk for delinquent behavior

Adult friendship


Adult Friendship

  • Family relationships are obligatory, ascribed

    • Cannot choose to replace parents and siblings

    • Family members from different generations

  • Friendship optional, chosen

    • Can select and replace friends

    • Friends are often similar in age

Adult friendship1


Adult Friendship

  • Based on similarities: occupational sttus, ethnicity, age, marital status, income, education, gender, and religion

  • Differences between family and friends

    • Family is obligatory; friendships optional

    • Family is ascribed; friendships chosen

    • Family spanned generations; friends have similarities

Adult friendship2


Adult Friendship

  • Gender Differences

    • Women

      • More close friends

      • More intimate; talk more

    • Men

      • More competitive

      • Engage in activities, especially outdoors

    • More cross-gender friendships than childhood but still prefer same-gender

Friendship in late adulthood


Friendship in Late Adulthood

  • Important role; tend to narrow their social network

  • Choose close friends over new friends

  • Gender differences

    • Women: more depressed without a best friend; no change in desire for friends

    • Men: decreased desire for new and close friends in older adulthood


Play and Leisure


  • Functions of play

    • Health

    • Affiliation with peers and constraints

    • Cognitive development

    • Exploration

    • Tension release, master anxiety and conflicts

      • Play therapy

Parten s classic study of play


Child not engaging in play as commonly understood; might stand in one spot


Child plays alone, independently of others


Child watches other children play


Child plays separately from others, but in manner that mimics their play


Play that involves social interaction with little or no organization


Play that involves social interaction in

group with sense of organized activity

Play and Leisure

Parten’s Classic Study of Play

Types of play


Infants derive pleasure from exercising their sensorimotor schemes


Repetition of behavior when new skills are being learned


Occurs when child transforms physical environment into symbol


Involves social interactions with peers


Self-regulated creation of products

or solutions; a frequent form of play


Activities for pleasure, has rules,

involves competition, turn-taking, etc.

Play and Leisure

Types of Play

Social theories of aging

Aging and the Social World

Social Theories of Aging

To cope effectively, older adults should gradually withdraw from society


The more active and involved older adults are, the more likely they are to be satisfied with their lives

Activity theory

Breakdown begins by negative views of older adults, ends by labeling self; social reconstruction brought about by viewing older adults as competent

Social breakdown-reconstructiontheory

Stereotyping of older adults

Aging and the Social World

Stereotyping of Older Adults

  • Ageism— prejudice against other people because of age, especially prejudice against older adults

  • Personal consequences of negative stereotyping can be serious

Social support and social integration

Aging and the Social World

Social Support and Social Integration

  • Social convoy model of social relations — go through life embedded in personal network of individuals that give social support

    • Helps those of all ages cope

    • Improves mental and physical health

    • Linked to reduced symptoms of disease

    • Linked to longevity

    • Emotionally positive contact lowers depression

The stress of caring for older adults

Aging and the Social World

The Stress of Caring for Older Adults

  • Individuals with long-term caregiving responsibilities are at risk for

    • Clinical depression

    • Compromised immune systems

Successful aging

Aging and the Social World

Successful Aging

  • Positive dimensions often ignored

  • Proper diet, technology, medical advances, and active lifestyle prolong and enhance quality of life

  • Related to perceived control over one’s environment (self-efficacy)

Individualism and collectivism

Sociocultural Influences

Individualism and Collectivism

  • Individualism— giving priority to personal goals rather than to group goals; emphasizing values that serve the self

  • Collectivism— emphasizing values that serve the group by subordinating personal goals to preserve group integrity, interdependence of members, and harmonious relationships

Influences on rites of passage

The media and culture

Reduced parents’ control of information

Greatest influence in the U.S.

Television – greater impact on children

Positive and negative effects

Violence and aggression, video games

Computer and the internet

Highest risks to children and adolescents

Effects on aging adults

Sociocultural Influences

Influences on Rites of Passage

Aging and culture

Older persons

Have valuable knowledge

Control key family/community resources

Remain useful and valued as long as possible

Have role continuity throughout yje life span

Engage in age-related role changes

Is integrated into the extended family

Get greatest respect in collectivistic cultures

Sociocultural Influences

Aging and Culture

What is socioeconomic status

Sociocultural Influences

What Is Socioeconomic Status?

  • SES

    • Grouping of people with similar occupational, educational, and economic characteristics

    • Number depends on community’s size, complexity

    • Low SES and middle SES

      • Each could have many subcategories

      • SES variations in neighborhoods, schools

    • Each level views education differently

Family socioeconomic variations

Sociocultural Influences

Family Socioeconomic Variations

  • Lower SES parents:

    • Stress conformity

    • Exercise authority

    • Use physical punishment

    • More directive, use less conversation with children

  • Higher SES parents:

    • Stress ‘initiative’ and delayed gratification

    • Children are nearly equal participants in home rules, etc.

    • Less likely to use physical punishment

    • Less directive, more conversational

Psychological ramifications of poverty

Sociocultural Influences

Psychological Ramifications of Poverty

  • Poverty: U.S. rates continue to increase

    • Tends to follow ethnic lines

    • Highest for children of all industrialized nations

  • Psychological effects of poverty

    • Powerless, vulnerable, no financial resources

    • Inadequate housing, at-risk environment, etc.

    • Long term effects: chronic health problems

Who is poor

Sociocultural Influences

Who is Poor?

  • Women —feminization of poverty

    • Over 1/3 of single mothers; 10% of single fathers

  • Families and poverty

    • Economic pressure linked with parenting

    • Benefits to parents help children

  • Poverty, aging, and ethnicity

    • 10-12% overall, more among women and ethnic minorities; more than 25% of older women

    • Ethnic diversity continues to increase


Sociocultural Influences


  • Relatively high rates — contribute to U.S. ethnic diversity

  • Special stressors often experienced

    • Language barriers

    • Separation from support network

    • SES changes

    • Preserving ethnic identity versus acculturation

    • Cultural value conflicts within family


Sociocultural Influences


  • Ethnicity and socioeconomic status

    • Difficult to separate influences of ethnicity and SES

    • Minorities overrepresented in lower SES may cause exaggeration of negative ethnic influences

    • Links between acculturation and adolescent problems

The end


The End