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Risk and protection factors in the peer context: how do other children contribute to the psychosocial adjustment of the adolescent?

Fatores de risco e proteção no contexto dos pares: como outras crianças contribuem para o ajuste psicossocial do adolescente?

As children become adolescents, peers assume greater importance in their lives. Peer experiences can either help them thrive or negatively affect their psychosocial adjustment. In this review article definitions for the types of peer experiences are provided followed by an overview of common psychosocial issues encountered by adolescents. Past research that has pointed to risk and protection factors that emerge from peer experiences during adolescence and the role of peer influences in the context of current issues relevant to adolescent education are discussed. Research suggests that friendships with deviant peers, involvement in bullying and the experience of rejection from the overall peer group are related to adjustment problems, whereas friendships with prosocial and academically oriented peers and social acceptance in the peer group are related to healthy development. Friendship quality, popularity among peers, and involvement in friendship cliques cannot be clearly categorized as either positive or negative influences, because they interact with other factors in shaping the development of adolescents. The promotion of social skills and positive youth leadership as an integral part of the student's learning process in school is recommended.

Peer relationships; Protection factors; Risk factors; Development of the adolescent

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