Date of Submission


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



Department Chair

Robert A DiTomasso, PhD, ABPP, Chair, Department of Psychology

First Advisor

Susan Panichelli Mindel, PhD, Chairperson

Second Advisor

Celine Thompson, PhD

Third Advisor

Serena Callahan, PhD


Research has shown that peer relationships influence both psychological and academic functioning (Woolley, Kol, & Bowen, 2008; Zimmer-Gembeck & Pronk, 2012). Peer relationships have also been found to be important components of a child’s emotional and behavioral functioning across cultures (Ladd, 1999; Jensen-Campbell & Malcolm, 2007; Parker et al., 2005; Parker & Asher, 1993; La Greca & Harrison, 2006)). However, there is a lack of research on peer relationships in minority youth, specifically Latino youth (Way & Chen, 2000). This study examined the relationship between peer support and psychological and academic functioning in a sample of Latino middle-school students. Self-report questionnaires as well as school grades were utilized to examine the influence that level of peer support has on symptoms of anxiety, depression, loneliness, self-esteem, as well as school achievement. The Perceived Social Support for Friends Scale (PSS-FR; Procidano & Heller, 1983) was used to measure peer support; this study appeared to be the first to utilize the PSS-FR with a sample of youth younger than 14 years (Way & Greene, 2006). The results showed a non-significant relationship between levels of peer support and psychological and academic functioning in this sample of Latino youth. These results are likely due to a low sample size and subsequently, a lack of statistical power. Limitations of the study are addressed and future directions are explored.

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