Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Child Behavior and Development

pp 1073-1074

Peer Group

  • Sahran HamitAffiliated withJohn Jay College of Criminal Justice Email author 

Synonyms

Clique; Peer affiliation; Peer relations; Peer relationships; Social group

Definition

A peer group is a group of individuals who are approximately the same age, formed from common interests and affective bonds.

Description

Peer groups consist of more than two individuals of similar age, social status, and interest. Peer groups are not only comprised of individuals who are friends. It is possible to have a peer group where some members are friends and others are just tolerated. Every child on a basketball team is in the same peer group, but they are not all necessarily friends. Peer group membership can be based on sociometric status, friendship, and other social categories (e.g., “brains” or “jocks”). Peer groups are based on the interests of the members, whether that interest is sports, academia, or music. It is also possible for an individual to belong to two peer groups simultaneously and it is typical for individuals to change groups radically over t ...

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