PSYC 2110 Chapter Notes - Chapter 15: Peer Group, Social Change, Relational Aggression

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16 Nov 2012
PSYC2110 - CHAPTER 15: Peers, Media
and Schooling
Importance of Peer Relations
Peer bonds vital for social competence
Peers serve as vital sources of support in threatening situations and contribute greatly to development but they do so
more effectively when children also have warm, supportive ties to parents
Development of Peer Sociability
Infant & Toddler Beginnings
Coordinated interaction occurs more often, largely in form of mutual imitation involving jumping, chasing or banging
a toy; imitative, turn taking games create joint understandings that aid verbal communication
Around age 2, they use words to communicate
The Preschool Years
Dramatic increase with age in ability to engage in joint, interactive play
Social development proceeds in 3 step sequence:
o Non-social activity unoccupied, onlooker behaviour and solitary play
o Parallel play child plays near other children with similar materials but doesn’t try to influence their
o Highest level are two forms of true social interaction:
Associative play children engage in separate activities but exchange toys and comment on one
another’s behaviour
Cooperative play more advanced type of interaction, where children orient toward a common
goal, such as acting out a make-believe theme
o Can go back and forth on this sequence
o Older children engaged in more cognitively mature behaviour than younger children
Certain types of non-social activity are cause of concern; both reticent and impulsive children at risk for peer
o Children who behave reticently, by watching peers without playing, usually are temperamentally inhibited
high in social fearfulness
o Children who engage in solitary, repetitive behaviour tend to be immature, impulsive youngsters who find
it hard to regulate anger and aggression
Sociodramatic play advanced form of cooperative play becomes really common; supports cognitive, emotional
and social development
Middle Childhood and Adolescence
Meet diverse people and their awareness that others have viewpoints different from their own increases
At this age can better interpret others’ emotions and intentions and take them into account in peer dialogues
School age kids offer to help and wait for peer to accept, freely exchanging ideas, asking for opinions and
acknowledging one another’s contributions
Rough-and-tumble play friendly chasing and play-fighting is good natured, sociable activity, quite distinct from
aggressive fighting
Dominance hierarchy stable ordering of group members that predicts who will win when conflict arises; once
established, hostility is rare
As adolescents reach physical maturity and individual differences in strength become clear, rough-and-tumble play
Midadolescence spend more time with peers than with any other social partners
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Influences on Peer Sociability
In providing play opportunities, parents show children how to initiate peer contacts and encourage them to be good
‘hosts’ who consider their playmates’ needs
Parents offer guidance on how to act toward others
Parental monitoring of child’s activities protects school age kids and adolescents from antisocial involvements
Extent to which adolescents tell parents about their whereabouts and companions is an especially strong predictor of
Secure attachments to parents linked to more responsive, harmonious peer interactions, larger peer networks and
warmer more supportive friendships throughout childhood and adolescence
Parent-child play seems to be particularly effective context for promoting peer-interaction skills
Quality of parents’ social networks is associated with children’s social competence
Piaget emphasized experiences with children equal in status who challenge one another’s viewpoints, thereby
promoting cognitive, social and moral development
Vygotsky believed children profit from interacting with older, more capable peers who model and encourage more
advanced skills
Among preschoolers, younger children’s play is more cognitively and socially mature in mixed-age classrooms than
single-age classrooms
Oldest school age children in mix-age settings prefer same age companions, maybe because they have more
compatible interests and experience more cooperative interaction
Young kids interaction with same age partners more intense and harmonious but they turn to older peers because of
their superior knowledge and exciting play ideas
Interacting with equals learn to cooperate and resolve conflicts; develop vital moral understandings of reciprocity
and justice
Mix age settings younger kids acquire new competencies from older companions; mature youngsters help their less
mature counterparts, they practice nurturance, guidance and other prosocial behaviours
Caregivers who view play as mere entertainment less likely to provide props or encourage pretend than those who
value its cognitive and social benefits
Western style sociodramatic play may be more vital for social development in societies where child and adult worlds
are distinct than it is when children participate in adult activities from young age
Friendship close relationship involving companionship in which each partner wants to be with the other; contributes
uniquely to children’s psychological adjustment
Thinking About Friendship
Mature friendships endure over time and survive occasional conflicts
Children’s idea about what friendship is changes with age
Friendship doesn’t have long term, enduring quality
A friend is someone who likes you, you spend a lot of time playing, with whom you share toys
Friendship has become mutually agreed-on relationship in which kids like each other’s personal qualities and respond
to each other’s needs and desires
Requires both kids to want to be together, takes more time and effort to get it started than at younger ages
Trust becomes defining feature once friendship forms; good friendship based on acts of kindness signifying each
person can be counted on to support the other
Rifts can’t be patched up simply by playing nicely after conflict like younger kids do; apologies and explanations are
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Teenagers stress three characteristics
o Intimacy or psychological closeness
o Mutual understanding of each other’s values, beliefs and feelings
o Loyal to stick up for them and not leave them for somebody else
Characteristics of Friendships
Younger kids are not as selective about friends as older kids
Girls who demand greater closeness than boys are more exclusive in their friendships
Friendships remarkably stable at all ages
o Young children stability largely function of constancy of social environments
o 4th grade to high school 50-70% endure over school year and some for several years, although they often
go through temporary shifts in strength of each partner’s commitment
o Middle or junior high school pubertal development, encounters with new peers and romantic interests
often lead to temporary period of greater change in choice of friends
Teens less possessive of friends than they were in childhood
Friends behave more prosocially but also disagree and compete with each other more than nonfriends; also use
negotiation to resolve conflicts
Adolescent girls friendships more likely to endure when friends are up front about tensions in relationship; for
adolescent boys, a better coping strategy is dismissing tensions as no big deal
Children who bring kindness and compassion to friendships strength one another’s social tendencies and form more
lasting ties
Friends will become increasingly similar in attitudes and values with age
Children and adolescents probably choose companions like themselves to increase supportiveness of friendship
When young people enter a wider range of school and community settings, they choose some friends who differ from
Task of forging a personal identity at times leads adolescents to seek friends with differing attitudes and values as
means of exploring new perspectives within the security of a compatible relationship
Due to gender-role expectations, girls’ friendships typically focus on communal concerns, boys’ on achievement and
Quality of boys’ relationships are more variable than for girls
When friends focus on their deeper thoughts and feelings, they tend to coruminate (repeatedly mull over problems
and negative emotions); corumination contributes to high friendship quality but also triggers anxiety and depression
Young people who are either very popular or very unpopular are more likely to have other-sex friends
o Boys more likely than girls because girls have desire for closeness which leads them to same sex friends
Boys with other sex friends is associated with feelings of competence; whereas for girls with other sex friends, it is
linked to less positive well-being
Friendship and Adjustment
Close friendships provide opportunities to explore self and develop deep understanding of another
o Friends get to know both themselves and their friend especially well, process that supports development of
self concept, perspective taking and identity
Close friendships provide foundation for future intimate relationships
o Lengthy, often emotionally laden psychological discussions between adolescent friends appear to prepare
young person for love relationships
o Conversations, along with intimacy of friendship itself, may help adolescents establish and work out
problems in romantic relationships
Close friendships help young people deal with stresses of everyday life
o Prosocial friendships promote empathy, sympathy and positive social behaviour
Close friendships can improve attitudes toward and involvement in school
o Can promote good school adjustment in both middle and low SES students
Without supportive friendship as context for acquiring more adaptive social behaviours, maladaptive behaviours of
these children tend to persist
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