Peer relationships provide an important social context that can either enhance or compromise individuals’ psychological well-being. Interpersonal theories and supporting empirical studies have documented ways in which peer relationships contribute to or protect against the development of psychopathology. This entry describes how peer relationships are measured; summarizes the positive effects of acceptance by the peer group and supportive friendships; reviews the negative effects of peer rejection, bullying, and mutual antipathies; and illustrates universal and targeted interventions designed to improve peer relationships and, in turn, psychological well-being.

Measurement of Peer Relationships

Psychological studies of peer relationships have relied on four major assessment methods to measure peer relationships: (1) sociometric nominations, (2) social network analysis, (3) self-report interviews or questionnaires, and (4) observations. Sociometric nominations are conducted in ...

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