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The implications of peer network structure: Considering peer network structure creation and influence on adolescent development

Sat, April 14, 3:45 to 5:15pm, Hilton, Third Floor, Board Room 3

Session Type: Paper Symposium

Integrative Statement

Research aimed at understanding the dynamics of peer relationships must consider two important points: (1) the complexity of interpersonal relationship dynamics and (2) the complexity of structural constraints, such as classrooms and schools, on peer relationship dynamics. Such investigations also present statistical challenges that require the application of innovative methodologies, including data simulation, multilevel modeling, and social network analysis. Thus, this symposium aims to discuss some critical methodological considerations, as well as real world implications for the role of peer network structure in child and adolescent development.
To this end, three papers will be presented that describe how developmental scholars might think about and conceptualize peer network structures using advanced methodological techniques (e.g., simulation, multilevel, social network analysis) in order to address important developmental questions (e.g., bullying, helping behavior). Three presentations from international scholars in the Netherlands, Slovenia, and the USA make up this symposium. The first presentation describes the dynamics behind the creation of peer network structure using simulated social network data. The second presentation builds upon this study by considering how multilevel models can be used to understand the impact of peer network structure at the individual and classroom level, as it relates to important developmental outcomes (e.g., bullying). The third presentation discusses the need to consider multiple and overlapping interactions between specific forms of social network structures (e.g., friendship and helping networks). Discussions consider the significant role of developing peer network structures throughout childhood and adolescence.

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