Monday, August 5, 2013

Analyze A Pressure Often Faced in Adolescence: Peer Pressure

Encouragement placed on an individual to conform to his or her peers (friends or contemporaries) in attitude, behavior, and dress is peer pressure (Berger, 2011). Peer pressure occurs when an adolescent allows his or her peers (individuals of the same age range) to influence his or her behavior and decisions. Peer pressure can be a negative force, as when adolescent peers encourage another peer or peers to defy the authority of adults (Berger, 2011). However, peer pressure is not always negative. Peer pressure can either be positive or negative depending on how an adolescent handles it (Fanning, 2003). Positive peer pressure can lead an adolescent to make positive changes in his or her life. The positive effects of such peer pressure can lead to positive behaviors. For instance, if an adolescent has trouble maintaining a good grade point average in school he or she may decide to get help from a tutor to raise his or her grade point average after he or she receives encouragement from his or her peers.
Negative peer pressure can lead an adolescent to make negative changes in his or her life. The negative effects of such peer pressure can lead to adverse behaviors. For instance, an adolescent under stress to impress his or her peers takes certain risks that endanger his or her health, compromise his or her values, and jeopardize his or her future (Fanning, 2003). Those that influence peer pressure over adolescents are the cliques and crowds that adolescents join. According to Brown and Larson (2009), assists “cliques and crowds provide social control and social support, via comments, exclusion, and admiration” (as cited in Berger, 2011, p. 443). A clique is a group of adolescents and close friends who show loyalty to each other while excluding outsiders (Berger, 2011). The individuals in cliques share the same interests and values.
A crowd is a larger group of adolescents who have common interest but may not necessarily be friends (Berger, 2011). Common interest, such as ethnicity, certain personal characteristics, or particular activities of interest may be the basis of crowds. Crowds also provide encouragement for certain values. Cliques and crowds possess the ability of influencing the behaviors of adolescents through the peer pressure they impose, which is either a positive or negative influence.  
Fanning, K. (2003, 10). Peer pressure. Scholastic Choices, 19, 6-10. Retrieved from

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