Peer contexts: Do old for grade and retained peers influence student behavior in middle school
This study analyzes the association between the presence of old for grade and retained peers and the propensity for seventh-graders to engage in deviant behaviors in school. We also examine the propensity of students to receive an out-of-school suspension, one of the more severe consequences for disciplinary infractions. Consistent with peer influence theories of adolescent behavior, we find that students who attend school with many old for grade or retained students are more likely to commit offenses in school and to be suspended. Furthermore, we find that the vulnerability of students to these peer influences on behavior tends to vary by age, gender, race, and retention status.