Peer Aggregation and Some Puzzling Effects

Joan McCord, Temple University

Adolescence is a time in life when congregating seems natural. Adolesence joins one another for recreation and for work. Adolescents are more responsive to their peers than to their parents. For most adolescence, congregation appears to generate comfort and lead to the types of experience that produce adults willing to accept social responsibilities. Yet when adolescents are aggregated for the purpose of improving their behavior, several programs have found that the interventions increase antisocial activities. The puzzle is to ascertain why some types of group formations promote prosocial proclivities and others promote antisocial activities. The paper will describe examples of each type and propose a theory to explain their differences.

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Updated 05/20/2006