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Music and social development in adolescence

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posted on 15.12.2014, 10:46 by Mark. Tarrant
This thesis investigated the role of the social context in adolescents' musical behaviour. Six studies were conducted to investigate how statements about music contribute to social relationships in adolescence. The studies assessed adolescents' behaviour at various levels of social psychological explanation (c.f. Doise, 1986). A literature review is presented in Section A. Section B addressed behaviour at individual and interpersonal levels of explanation. Chapter 6 investigated adolescents' individual reasons for listening to music. The study demonstrated that music has the potential to fulfil important individual motives concerning identity and mood regulation. Chapters 7 and 8 addressed the interpersonal behaviour of adolescents. Chapter 7 demonstrated that music has the potential to influence adolescents' friendship formation and help maintain existing peer relationships, and Chapter 8 revealed how adolescents use music in the process of social comparison. The final set of studies, reported in Section C, addressed behaviour at the intergroup level of explanation. Chapters 9 and 10 investigated the behaviour of adolescents in experimentally contrived 'minimal groups', and Chapter 11 examined behaviour in a more socially meaningful context. It was demonstrated that music makes an important contribution to social identity in adolescence, and that adolescents' intergroup behaviour is related to their self-esteem. Together, the studies presented in this thesis indicate that music is an intrinsic part of the adolescent process. Adolescents' musical behaviour contributes to their social development, and as such interacts ultimately with their status as members of social groups. Future research should continue to address the impact of this wider social context in developing a more theoretically informed understanding of adolescent involvement with music.


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University of Leicester

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