Personal values have a key role in determining people’s perceptions, judgments, and behaviors. Only a handful of studies examined determinants of children’s values outside the family. We used longitudinal data on children’s values from 15,008 children in Grades 3 to 9, and homeroom teachers’ reports about the behaviors of 3,476 of these children. As predicted, peers’ values were positively correlated with the strengthening of children’s corresponding values. Moreover, with the exception of self-transcendence values, peer values had an indirect effect on corresponding child behavior, through children’s self-endorsed values. Girl peers had stronger effects on both girls’ and boys’ values. In addition, we found some evidence for stronger relationships between peer and children’s values among the older children, in particular among boys. These latter effects were even more prominent in an extended sample that included data from first and second graders. We discuss the theoretical and practical implications of our findings.
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© 2021 by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Inc.
- peer influence
- value socialization
- values and behavior