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date: 27 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Peer relationships during adolescence play a powerful role in youth adjustment. This chapter summarizes research regarding two distinct yet related social processes that have been observed within adolescent peer interactions to be predictive of problem behaviors: coercion and contagion. The mechanisms underlying these two processes are outlined, including positive reinforcement involved in deviancy training (a form of contagion) as well as escape conditioning involved in coercion. The chapter details some of the commonalities between the two processes as seen in adolescence as well as key differences and risk factors unique to each. Several recent studies that simultaneously examined both coercion and contagion in peer interactions are highlighted. Finally, a number of future directions are outlined, including advancing analytic methods to better understand bidirectional effects and further investigating the role of these processes in internalizing symptoms in adolescence.

Keywords: coercion, contagion, peer, relationship, adolescence, antisocial, behavior, substance use

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