How peers make a difference: The role of peer groups and peer relationships in personality development

Anne K. Reitz*, Julia Zimmermann, Roos Hutteman, Jule Specht, Franz J. Neyer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

58 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Peers are a pervasive aspect of people's lives, but their role in personality development has rarely been considered. This is surprising, given that peers are promising candidates to explain personality development over the entire lifespan. Owing to the lack of clear-cut definitions of peers, we first elaborate on their defining criteria and functions in different life phases. We then discuss the role of peers in personality development across the lifespan. We advocate that an integration of social group perspectives and social relationship perspectives is essential to understand peer effects on personality development. Group socialization theory is particularly suited to explain developmental differences between groups as a result of group norms. However, it is blind towards differences in development within peer groups. In contrast, the PERSOC framework is particularly suited to explain individual differences in development within groups as a result of specific dyadic peer-relationship experiences. We propose that a conjunct consideration of peer-group effects and dyadic peer-relationship effects can advance the general understanding of personality development. We discuss examples for a cross-fertilization of the two frameworks that suggest avenues for future research. Copyright (C) 2014 European Association of Personality Psychology

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)279-288
JournalEuropean Journal of Personality
Volume28
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • personality development
  • peers
  • peer groups
  • dyadic relationships
  • lifespan perspective
  • YOUNG ADULTHOOD
  • SOCIOEMOTIONAL SELECTIVITY
  • ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIPS
  • SOCIAL NETWORK
  • LIFE EVENTS
  • BIG 5
  • IDENTITY
  • AGE
  • FRAMEWORK
  • SOCIALIZATION

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