What is Peer Group? List some characteristics of Peer Groups.

A peer group is a social group consisting of humans. Peer groups are an informal primary group of people who share a similar or equal status and who are usually of roughly the same age, who tend to travel around and interact within the social aggregate. Members of a particular peer group,often have similar interests and backgrounds, bonded by the premise of sameness. Some peer groups are very diverse, crossing social divides such as socioeconomic status, level of education, race, creed, culture, or religion

Characteristics of Peer Group.

Serve as a source of information:

Peer groups have a significant influence on psychological and social adjustments for group individuals. Peer groups provide perspective outside of individual’s viewpoints. Members inside peer groups also learn to develop relationships with others in the social system. Peers, particularly group members, become important social referents for teaching members, customs, social norms, and different ideologies.

Teaches gender roles:

Peer groups can also serve as a venue for teaching members gender roles. Through gender-role socialization group members learn about sex differences, social and cultural expectations. While boys and girls differ greatly there is not a one to one link between sex and gender role with males always being masculine and females always being feminine.

Both genders can contain different levels of masculinity and femininity. Peer groups like gender roles can consist of all males, all females, or both males and females. Peer groups can have great influence or peer pressure on each other’s gender role behaviour depending on the amount of pressure. If a peer group holds to a strong social norm, members will behave in ways predicted by their gender roles, but if there is not a unanimous peer agreement gender roles do not correlate with behaviour.

Serves as a practicing venue to adulthood:

Adolescent Peer groups provide support for children and teens as they assimilate into the adult society decreasing dependence on parents, and increasing feeling of self-sufficiency and connecting with a much larger social network. This is a period in which individuals are expanding their perspective beyond the family and learning how to negotiate relationships with others in the social system.

Peers, particularly group members, become important social referents. Peer groups also have influence on individual member’s attitudes, and behaviors on many cultural, and social issues such as drug use, violence, academic achievement and even the development and expression of prejudice.

Teachers Unity & Collective Behavior:

Peer Groups provide an influential social setting in which group norms are developed and enforced through socialization processes that promote within-group similarity. Peer groups cohesion is determined, and maintained by such factors as group Communication, Group consensus, and Group conformity concerning attitude and behaviour.

As members of peer groups interconnect, and agree, a normative code arises. This normative code can become very rigid deciding group behaviour, and dress. Peer group individuality is increased by normative codes, and inter-group conflict. Member deviation from the strict normative code can lead to rejection from the group.

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