Association Between Group Identification at School and Positive Youth Development: Moderating Role of Rural and Urban Contexts
This psychological process becomes especially relevant during the adolescent stage because adolescents are more susceptible to being influenced by their peers, and they usually have a strong desire to belong. Some studies show that social identity varies throughout adolescence, and greater identification with the group is found in early adolescence, when teenagers are more concerned with achieving a sense of belonging (Bornholt, 2000; Tanti et al., 2011). They start to understand how important belonging to certain groups is to them (Tarrant, 2002; Bennett and Sani, 2004; Harter, 2012), and they make an effort to understand which groups they identify with (Crosnoe, 2011). Moreover, the majority of adolescents not only identify with groups that share their sociodemographic characteristics (such as age and ethnicity), but also groups that share their activities (for example, from their extracurricular activities or sport clubs) (French et al., 2006; Tanti et al., 2011). Identification with groups of peers has been shown to be important for the psychosocial adjustment of adolescents (Brown and Larson, 2009). Among the groups of peers to which adolescents belong, two are especially relevant: the group of classmates and the group of friends they have outside the school and with whom they spend their free time. Research has shown that identification with these two groups is closely related and contributes greatly to the development of adolescents’ personal identity and their psychosocial adjustment (Alberolo et al., 2018).