Gifford-smith - Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, Vol....

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Unformatted text preview: Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, Vol. 33, No. 3, June 2005, pp. 255–265 ( C ° 2005) DOI: 10.1007/s10802-005-3563-7 Peer Influence in Children and Adolescents: Crossing the Bridge from Developmental to Intervention Science Mary Gifford-Smith, 1 Kenneth A. Dodge, 1 , 4 Thomas J. Dishion, 2 and Joan McCord 3 Received April 16, 2004; revision received June 16, 2004; accepted August 30, 2004 Considerable evidence supports the hypothesis that peer relationships influence the growth of problem behavior in youth. Developmental research consistently documents the high levels of covariation between peer and youth deviance, even controlling for selection effects. Ironically, the most common public interventions for deviant youth involve segregation from mainstream peers and aggregation into settings with other deviant youth. Developmental research on peer influence suggests that desired positive effects of group interventions in education, mental health, juvenile justice, and community programming may be offset by deviant peer influences in these settings. Given the public health policy issues raised by these findings, there is a need to better understand the conditions under which these peer contagion effects are most pronounced with respect to intervention foci and context, the child’s developmental level, and specific strategies for managing youth behavior in groups. KEY WORDS: peer relations; antisocial behavior; delinquency; intervention; iatrogenic effects; peer contagion; conduct problems. It is becoming clear that one of the major ways that deviant youth become even more deviant is through un- restricted interaction with deviant peers (Thornberry & Krohn, 1997). Ironically, many of the common treatments for deviant youth involve placing them in settings that aggregate them with other deviant youth. Concern has been raised about the possible iatrogenic effects of such placements (Dishion, McCord, & Poulin, 1999). The pur- pose of the current review is to consider the developmental evidence regarding peer influences, with respect to impli- cations for intervention programs and public policy. The review will unfold in steps. First, research exam- ining the role of deviant peer influence in the development of delinquency will be examined, with an emphasis on evaluating the empirical evidence for this phenomenon as simply homophily (that is, the tendency for like-minded individuals to seek each other out) or a true effect of peer 1 Duke University, Durham, North Carolina. 2 Child and Family Center, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon. 3 Department of Criminal Justice, Temple University, Narberth, Pennsylvania. 4 Address all correspondence to Kenneth A. Dodge, Center for Child and Family Policy, Duke University, Box 90264, Durham, North Carolina 27708-0264; e-mail: [email protected]...
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This note was uploaded on 08/08/2010 for the course COR 850 taught by Professor Matthews,b during the Fall '08 term at E. Kentucky.

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Gifford-smith - Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, Vol....

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