The Effect of Adults on Peer Interactions

  • Leonard A. Rosenblum
  • Edward H. Plimpton
Part of the Genesis of Behavior book series (GOBE, volume 2)


William Golding in his classic novel examines the behavioral and emotional disruption observed in a group of English schoolboys who find themselves confronted with the need to live together and survive in the absence of the adult society to which they are accustomed. The situation he created and the reactions he envisioned dramatically illuminate many of the basic issues with which this chapter will deal. While the novel has many levels of interpretation, it does suggest that in the absence of adults and the structured interaction that generally characterizes their behavior, the behavior of young children may become more disorderly, less focused, and—perhaps as a by-product of these factors and their consequent emotional impact— ultimately highly aggressive. Except during the ravages of war (Freud & Dunn, 1951) in both primitive and technologically advanced societies, it is quite unusual for children to function and attempt to survive without adults. In most instances in which children are observed interacting with one another, they are deeply immersed in the characteristic social patterns of their society or have only been briefly and temporarily separated from it.


Squirrel Monkey Vigorous Activity Kinship Group Social Play Sexual Segregation 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leonard A. Rosenblum
    • 1
  • Edward H. Plimpton
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryDownstate Medical CenterBrooklynUSA

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