Susceptibility to Peer Influences (Psychosocial Development)

The following four studies speak to the important role peers play in adolescents’ poor judgment and risky behaviors. Such evidence helps to explain why adolescents, more so than adults, commit crimes in groups. This is a critical psychosocial characteristic of youth to consider, particularly when we think about issues of mitigation and culpability. Highlighting how a youth may have been influenced by peers involved in the same incident may be critical for mitigating a client’s behavior.

Margo Gardner & Laurence Steinberg, Peer Influence on Risk Taking, Risk Preference, and Risky Decision Making in Adolescence and Adulthood: An Experimental Study, 41 Developmental Psychol. 625 (2005).

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O’Brien et al., Adolescents Prefer More Immediate Rewards when in the Presence of Their Peers, 21 J. Res. On Adolescence, 747 (2011).

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Jason Chein et al., Peers Increase Adolescent Risk Taking by Enhancing Activity in the Brain’s Reward Circuitry, 14 Developmental Sci.F1 (2011).

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Laurence Steinberg & Katherine Monahan, Age Differences in Resistance to Peer Influence, 43 Developmental Psych. 1531 (2007).

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o   Additionally, the samples consisted of individuals from the community, as well as those who had been arrested.

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