ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2016, Vol. 24 ›› Issue (4): 591-602.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2016.00591

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Peer relationship and mental health in perspective of social network

ZHANG Zhen1; GUO Bo-Da1,2   

  1. (1 Key Laboratory of Behavioral Science, Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China)
    University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China)
  • Received:2015-07-13 Online:2016-04-15 Published:2016-04-15
  • Contact: ZHANG Zhen, E-mail:


In recent decade, it has become one of hotspots in developmental psychology and health psychology that examining the interaction between peer relationship and mental health from a perspective of social network. With whole network data and longitudinal design, most of the research focused on two mechanisms of social network-mental health co-evolution: selection process (the effect of psychological and behavioral variables on developing, maintaining, and dissolving of peer relationships and social network) and influence process (the effect of peer relationships and social network on psychological and behavioral variables). Based on the above two mechanisms, some prominent findings on health risk behaviors (such as smoking, drinking, and substance use) and emotion problems (such as depression, anxiety and loneliness) of adolescents in the social network perspective were reviewed. Future researches in this field should pay more attention to a wider range of social networks beyond class and school contexts and special samples, increase studies on positive psychology and negative ties, strengthen the theoretical construction, apply social network analyses into online network environment more, and deeply explore biological foundation of social network.

Key words: adolescents, social network, peer relationship, mental health, selection process and influence process