Peer effects on self-regulation in adolescence depend on the nature and quality of the peer interaction

Citation:

King, K. M., McLaughlin, K. A., Silk, J., & Monahan, K. C. (2018). Peer effects on self-regulation in adolescence depend on the nature and quality of the peer interaction. Development and Psychopathology , 30 (4), 1389โ€“1401.
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Abstract:

Adolescence is a critical period for the development of self-regulation, and peer interactions are thought to strongly influence regulation ability. Simple exposure to peers has been found to alter decisions about risky behaviors and increase sensitivity to rewards. The link between peer exposure and self-regulation is likely to vary as a function of the type and quality of peer interaction (e.g., rejection or acceptance). Little is known about how the nature of interactions with peers influences different dimensions of self-regulation. We examined how randomization to acceptance or rejection by online "virtual" peers influenced multiple dimensions of self-regulation in a multisite community sample of 273 adolescents aged 16-17 years. Compared to a neutral condition, exposure to peers produced increases in cold cognitive control, but decreased hot cognitive control. Relative to peer acceptance, peer rejection reduced distress tolerance and increased sensitivity to losses. These findings suggest that different dimensions of adolescent self-regulation are influenced by the nature of the peer context: basic cognitive functions are altered by mere exposure to peers, whereas more complex decision making and emotion regulation processes are influenced primarily by the quality of that exposure.

Last updated on 09/12/2018