Social Identity Theory provides an important frame of reference to understand the processes linking adolescents to their peer groups, in that group membership provides an important contribution to their personal and collective self esteem which in turn strengthen their personal and social identity. However, groups are not alike and they may fulfil other functions beside self esteem enhancement, this is demonstrated by our research into the functions of spontaneous (both deviant and non-deviant) and formal group membership. Members of deviant groups underlined the importance of competitive motivations, members of non-deviant groups considered the ingroup as a source of self and social knowledge and intragroup cooperation. Among members of formal groups, while there was a generalised consensus on the contribution of these groups to collective self esteem, religious groups stressed the importance of self understanding, political members underlined intergroup competition as one of the most important motives for membership, and members of sports teams attributed a large degree of importance to intra-group cooperation.
Why adolescents peer group are not alike: the role of group functions / Rubini, M; Graziani, Anna Rita; POSTER PRESENTATO AL GENERAL MEETING EAESP WURZBURG GERMANIA, PALMONARI A.; July,. - STAMPA. - 14:(2005). (Intervento presentato al convegno 14th GENERAL MEETING EAESP tenutosi a Würzburg (DE) nel 19-23 Luglio).