Social Networks of Children, Adolescents, and College Students

By Suzanne Salzinger; John Antrobus et al. | Go to book overview

For high school dropouts, peer support was correlated with a less active coping style. Without doubt, one of the major complicating factors is the values shared by the peer group. Todd ( 1980) cited positive versus negative group norms regarding social support, and individual differences in willingness to use social support constructively, as two of the primary factors determining the amount of nurturance and support adults gain from their social networks. These factors are probably even more influential during the adolescent years, when conformity to peer norms tends to be greater. This notion was touched upon earlier in an attempt to explain the inverse relationship between the percentage of network kin versus nonkin and the number of behavior problems among older adolescents. Condry and Siman ( 1974) also demonstrated the importance of including potential moderator variables such as peer orientation in the model. When operationalizing the construct of adolescent social support, considerations of this order will probably determine success in obtaining interpretable results. Empirical work falling under the rubric of social support research has advanced enough to inform construct operationalization. To whatever degree it is feasible, further research should reflect this progress. Although gross quantitative measures of the structure of social networks are important, they seem to require the complementary measurement of qualitative aspects of social network content in order to achieve ecological validity.


REFERENCES

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Achenbach T. M. ( 1982). Developmental psychopathology. New York: Wiley.

Achenbach T. M., & Edelbrock C. S. ( 1981). Behavioral problems and competencies reported by parents of normal and disturbed children aged 4 through 16. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 46, Serial No. 188.

Achenbach T. M., & Edelbrock C. S. ( 1982). Manual for the Child Behavior Checklist and Child Behavior Profile. Burlington, VT: Child Psychiatry, University of Vermont.

Belsky J., Rovine M., & Taylor D. ( 1984). The origins of individual differences in infantmother atttachment: Maternal and infant contributions. Child Development, 55, 718- 728.

Burgess R., Anderson E., & Schellenbach C. ( 1980). A social interactional approach to the study of abusive families. In J. P. Vincent (Ed.), Advances in family interaction, assessment, and theory (Vol. 2, pp. 1-46). Greenwich, GT: JAI Press.

Burke R. J., & Weir T. ( 1978). Benefits to adolescents of informal helping relationships with their parents and peers. Psychological Reports, 42, 1, 175-1, 184.

Burke R. J., & Weir T. ( 1979). Helping responses of parents and peers and adolescent wellbeing. The Journal of Psychology, 102, 49-62.

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