This volume untangles the vast research in peer relationships by presenting new and cohesive theoretical perspectives of these relationships and their influence on a child's development. By treating peer relationships as a catalyst of developmental stages rather than an isolated event in development, this volume focuses on the importance of these peer experiences on the various steps of a child's life cycle. The book covers the individual processes of peer relationships from childhood through adolescence, and studies the effects of these relationships in a child's daily association with family, friends, play, and learning.****Not only does this volume strike a balance between European and North American research for the first time, but also demonstrates diversity in disciplines through contributions by scholars from sociology, anthropology, psycholinguistics, and developmental psychology. The result is a fine illustration of the wide impact of peer experience in child development.****FROM THE PREFACE: The goal of this volume is to integrate a variety of research programs focused on the study of peer relations. It represents a further step in considering peer research from a developmental perspective. Pursuing this approach leads to the realization that to understand the contribution of children's peer relationships to their development, one must examine the processes involved in these relationships. Rather than seeing peer relations as one isolated area of development, the contributors view these relationships as significant for development in many areas, including friendships, play, and learning.
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