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Among all three main influences of peer groups, supportive friendships have the greatest influence and the most important role to play in children’s social development and adolescents’ social adjustment. This is especially so for adolescents, as adolescence is the period when peer conformity peaks (Berndt, 1979). Supportive friendship is particularly salient when peer groups offer the specific type of support needed to deal with a particular stressor. For example, when a child needs help with homework, a friend who answers questions about the assignment may render more effective support than a friend who simply tries to make the child feel better about his or her ability (Berndt, 1989). As such, peer groups appear to be the key factor that contributes to the social development of children and adolescents.

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