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Processes of peer influence for antisocial behaviors: Social clique differences and associations with peer relationships

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  • Psychology
  • Social|Psychology
  • Developmental
  • Criminology


The purpose of this investigation was to evaluate the relationships between peer influence, social status, and engagement in antisocial or risk-taking behaviors. In Study 1, pilot testing with college undergraduates was used to expand on existing measures of peer influence to construct and validate the Adolescent Peer Influence Inventory. The APII was shown to have appropriate psychometric properties and to be a useful tool in the study of peer influence in late adolescence. In Study 2, 543 adolescents in Grade 10 were administered peer nomination and self report instruments to assess peer status, engagement in antisocial and risk-taking behaviors, and levels of peer influence. No evidence was found to support the hypothesis that perceived popular groups have higher levels of direct peer influence for negative behaviors than peer groups not perceived as popular. However, perceived popular status was a significant predictor of engagement in alcohol and marijuana use and delinquency. A high level of negative peer influence was a robust predictor of engagement in all of the antisocial behaviors assessed. Gender moderated the relationship between status, influence, and risk-taking behavior. ^

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