In This Chapter

School Contexts and the Development of Adolescents’ Peer Relations

Authored by: Jill V. Hamm , Lei Zhang

Handbook of Research on Schools, Schooling, and Human Development

Print publication date:  May  2010
Online publication date:  June  2010

Print ISBN: 9780805859485
eBook ISBN: 9780203874844
Adobe ISBN: 9781135283872


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Peer relations have long been recognized as one of the central developmental issues of adolescence. For decades, scholars from diverse fields have demonstrated how various types and features of adolescents’ peer relations predict key developmental outcomes, including academic achievement, problem behavior, and schooling adjustment. Researchers have tapped into peer relations within the school setting, using methodologies such as classroom-based peer nominations and classroom/school observations, to identify and measure specific peer relations. Research participants are often asked to limit their identification of peers to class- or schoolmates; so that, the determination of adolescents’ status, reputation, or relationships, is fully dependent on the school context in which it was measured. Such efforts rightly recognize the significance of the school context to adolescents’ peer relations, but surprisingly, there is little acknowledgment that these peer relations might be in part influenced by features of the very school settings in which they are defined and measured.

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