Beyond the “dark side”: The “bright side” of peer experiences and physiological adaptation

Kelly M. Tu, Karen D. Rudolph, Xiaomei Li, Tianying Cai, Virnaliz Jimenez

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Compared to theory and research implicating exposure to peer adversity, or the “dark side” of peer relationships, in the development of physiological dysregulation, much less is known about how the “bright side” of peer relationships may enhance physiological adaption or help to buffer against the negative effects of peer adversity among children and adolescents. The goal of this chapter is to provide an overview of research examining the link between positive peer experiences and physiological adaptation. We review multiple physiological systems (i.e., neural, hormone, autonomic, circadian) and multiple facets of positive peer experiences (i.e., friendship, social network, peer group status). Further, we propose a conceptual framework highlighting how psychological and interpersonal provisions gained from positive peer experiences may enhance (or sometimes undermine) physiological adaptation. We conclude with future directions for research to address existing gaps in the literature and expand knowledge in this area.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Child and Adolescent Health, First Edition
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)9780128188736
ISBN (Print)9780128188729
StatePublished - Jan 1 2023


  • Adolescence
  • Autonomic nervous system
  • Childhood
  • Friendship
  • Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis
  • Neural function
  • Peer relationships
  • Physiology
  • Sleep

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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