Adolescents during the middle school years face a tremendous amount of pressure and change. As the physical changes of the students become apparent so do the changes in their relationships with the people around them. It is at this time in their life that adolescents begin to formulate and identify with distinguishable peer groups. This qualitative study is based on the observations and interviews of five students in a middle school in the Pacific Northwest. The study attempts to identify the purposes that the peer groups in the middle school serve for the students in that school and how popularity is determined by the students. A focus is also placed on the rituals and intimacy of the peer groups found in this school. Erikson's Identity versus Role Confusion is cited to interpret the phenomena of the peer group dynamic.
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