Coercion and Contagion in Family and School Environments: Implications for Educating and Socializing Youth
This chapter discusses the peer processes of coercion and contagion and their implications for public school eff orts to educate and socialize youth. The systemic link between coercion in the family and in the classroom and deviant peer contagion is considered developmentally in terms of an ecological framework. Research has shown that in elementary school, aggressive behavior, normative peer rejection, and academic failure lead to formation of self-organized deviant peer groups by secondary school. Such peer groups provide a basis for the development of premature autonomy, which in turn can present a serious challenge to parents and teachers to recover or infl uence educational and social outcomes. These processes are described in respect to school settings, with a focus on application of a coercion model to the classroom and on contagion processes that emerge from aggregating problem youth. Preventive implications for family-school partnership are then discussed.