Could peers influence intelligence during adolescence? An exploratory study

Ryan Charles Meldrum, Jacob Young, Nicholas Kavish, Brian B. Boutwell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


For decades, scholars have examined various aspects concerning the development of intelligence. Little research, however, has considered the potential for peers to influence intellectual ability. To investigate this possibility, data collected on a sample of 892 adolescents and their best friends who participated in the Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development were analyzed. Results indicate that while a large bivariate association exists in a longitudinal model between peer and adolescent intelligence, it is reduced to non-significance after controlling for prior levels of adolescent intelligence and other background variables. As such, and contrary to a number of other literatures providing evidence of peer influences on developmental outcomes during adolescence, this study does not find evidence supporting a socialization effect of peers on intellectual ability. Limitations of the study and directions for future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)28-34
Number of pages7
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


  • Adolescence
  • Friendships
  • Intelligence
  • Socialization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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