Susceptibility to peer influence during middle school: Links with social support, peer harassment, and gender

Sara E. Goldstein, Chih Yuan Steven Lee, John F. Gunn, Shaniqua Bradley, Shannon Lummer, Paul Boxer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The present study explores concurrent relations between social support, gender, susceptibility to peer influence, and peer-based aggression and harassment in a socioeconomically and racially diverse sample of 774 seventh and eighth grade students. Results indicate that students perceiving lower support from their family or school were relatively more likely to be highly susceptible to peer influence, and to have friends who they believed were also highly susceptible to peer influence. Further, higher susceptibility to peer influence was associated with increased involvement in relational aggression and sexual harassment, both as a perpetrator and as a victim. Gender moderation effects were also found. The negative association of school support and susceptibility to peer influence was found greater in girls than boys. Girls who were highly susceptible to peer influence, or who had friends who were highly susceptible, had a relatively greater risk for involvement in relational aggression and sexual harassment, as compared with boys. Implications of these results for educators and school-based mental health professionals are discussed, and suggestions for future research are offered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-110
Number of pages20
JournalPsychology in the Schools
Volume57
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020

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Keywords

  • family support
  • peer susceptibility
  • relational aggression
  • school support
  • sexual harassment

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