A peer group
is both a social group and a primary group of people who have similar interests (homophily), age, background, or social status. The members of this group are likely to influence the person’s beliefs
. Peer groups contain hierarchies and distinct patterns of behavior. Eighteen-year-olds are not in a peer group with 14 year olds even though they may be in school together, just as teachers do not share students as a peer group.
, peer groups tend to face dramatic changes. Adolescents tend to spend
more time with their peers and have less adult
supervision. Adolescents’ communication shifts during this time as well. They prefer
to talk about school and their careers with their parents, and they enjoy talking about sex
and other interpersonal relationships with their peers. Children look to join
peer groups who accept them, even if the group is involved in negative activities. Children are less likely to accept those who are different from them.
are small groups typically defined by common interests or by friendship. Cliques typically have 2-12 members and tend to be formed by age, gender
, race, and social class
. Clique members are usually the same in terms of academics and risk behaviors. Cliques can serve as an agent of socialization
and social control
. Being part of a clique can be advantageous since it may provide a sense of autonomy
, a secure social environment, and overall well-being
are larger, more vaguely defined groups that may not have a friendship base. Crowds serve as peer groups, and they increase in importance during early adolescence, and decrease by late adolescents. The level of involvement
in adult institutions and peer culture describes crowds.