Peer Bonds in Urban School Communities: An Exploratory Study

Nicole Leach


The literature identifies three main types of peer associations: cliques, crowds, and dyadic friendships. When schools create learning communities, an additional type of peer association may emerge that is not based on interactions but instead is based on membership in a shared community. The aim of this study is to qualitatively explore the nature and characteristics of this association, labeled peer bonds. Observational data (n=432) and semi-structured interviews (n=33) were collected in two urban high schools over the course of three academic years. Data were analyzed using the constant comparison method. Findings suggest that there are six characteristics of peer bonds: investment in peer success, shared identity, shared values, pedagogical caring, shared success, and shared failure. The scholarly significance of this study is the expansion of theoretical conceptualizations of peer associations in learning communities while the practical significance is the potential use of a largely underutilized source for academic interventions, peers, by creating school community.


school community, peers, urban

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Qualitative Research in Education | ISSN: 2014-6418

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