Peer pressure and drugs: Definition, risk factors, and addiction

Peer pressure can be a driving force in influencing decisions and habits, especially those related to alcohol and drugs. As substance abuse issues continue to soar nationwide, psychologists and drug treatment specialists continue to explore preventive care options. It means tackling the problem of peer pressure, a topic that—although widely acknowledged as problematic—is not easily understood. From childhood through a person’s adolescent years, the need to fit in and find one’s identity is at the forefront of their journey.

That way, you’re fulfilling both of your needs in a mutually beneficial way. From here, it can be easy to see how a person or group of people could influence someone in this mental state. Consequently, many would disregard their own views so as to avoid being rude or fit in. Just like the day I collected a drink at a party… not like I wanted to, but everybody else was drinking and I would have been the odd one out. My next vivid memory was waking up in my hostel at 6 am the next morning, extremely hungry.

Different Types of Peer Pressure

However, it’s more complicated when the reinforced behavior is primarily negative, such as detrimental habits like smoking, drinking, or misusing drugs. While the concept of peer pressure may feel inherently negative, peer pressure can also result in positive actions. Therefore, peer pressure can be influenced and received in many ways. Listed below are the various types of peer pressure, how they occur, and the resulting consequences. The goal of peer pressure, sometimes known as peer influence, is to make a person succumb to the whims and beliefs of others in their social group, causing that person to act in a way they normally wouldn’t.

Friendships work to minimize boredom and reduce the severity of stress that you feel, which is why having a positive group is so advantageous to the average person. Being subject to peer rejection can be very painful, and a person who feels unable to tolerate rejection may find it very difficult to resist using drugs and alcohol if their peers do so. For this reason, it is important to find peers who either do not use drugs or alcohol or accept those who do not. Understanding how to prevent this is important for raising healthy adults.The tips and tricks provided in this article should help provide a framework for teaching your children not to fall victim to peer pressure. Remember, your child is going to be facing these peer pressures on their own.

Types of Peer Pressure

Social norms and peer pressure play a relatively large role in increasing or decreasing the likelihood of the successful achievement of behavioral change according to the studies reviewed. The same study also found that students with higher resistance to peer influence were less likely to modify their behavior to match the perceived behavior of their peers. It’s important to let your child know as much as you can about the effects of drugs and alcohol, the risks of unprotected sex, and the importance of remaining true to themselves.

Peer pressure can be both positive and negative, as in some cases, people may put pressure on others not to use recreational drugs and alcohol. While peer pressure generally has a negative connotation, positive peer pressure is not uncommon at all. However, since positive peer pressure encourages people to make healthy decisions that foster well-being, it may not be as immediately obvious as peer pressure that encourages someone to act dangerously. Peer pressure can take on forms that have a little or nothing to do with drugs or alcohol.

How to resist peer pressure

Here is an activity you can do to become aware of the different types of peer pressure. Review the following scenarios and ask if each one is an example of direct negative peer pressure, indirect negative peer pressure or positive peer pressure. Indirect Peer Pressure —indirect peer pressure is subtle but can still be toxic. Maybe you overhear some gossip about another person, and your behavior toward them changes based on the gossip alone. When it comes down to it, it is difficult to measure peer pressure because we are all different. Everyone interprets life through their own individual lens, and therefore, makes choices based on their convictions.

Is peer pressure the same as direct pressure?

People often think of 'peer pressure' as the stereotypical scenario of a teen feeling forced into doing something they don't want to do because their friends keep pressing them to do it. This is often called “Direct Pressure” and it is actually rarer than you think.

Peer pressure, or influence, comes in several forms, and these types of peer pressure can have a tremendous impact on a young person’s behavior. Research shows the most impressionable age for peer influence seems to be the middle school years. This is when a child is forming new friendships and choosing direct peer pressure an identity among those friends. The impact of peer pressure can be so severe on people, including adults, that it begins to feel unnatural being in your own skin. When there is distance from family and long-time friends, then emotions like anxiety, fear, and desperation can begin to form.

The group may call the person names or try to convince them that drinking will make them “cool”, with the hopes of getting that person to give in and drink. Spoken peer pressure is when a teenager asks, suggests, persuades or otherwise directs another to engage in a specific behavior. If this is done in a one-on-one environment, the recipient of the influence has a stronger chance of adhering to his or her core values and beliefs. If, however, the spoken influence takes place within a group, the negative peer pressure to go along with the group is immense. Unspoken peer pressure and indirect peer pressure are members of the same CIA team, since they operate the same way. Just like it suggests, this involves directly persuading or directing someone to behave in a certain way or take certain action in a specific manner.

  • For example, if a popular clique bullies others, someone who wants to join them would believe that to do so, they have to start bullying also.
  • Ultimately, you have the ability to discern when things are good or bad for you.
  • Another might be that it is easier to go along with the crowd rather than going against it,” says Hasselman.
  • It helps you maintain your values and create a more positive environment for everyone involved.

Thus, when faced with peer pressure, they will be less likely to fold. One of the difficulties of identifying cultural pressure is acknowledging that most members of your culture will be following the same rules. There are many things that we do for no other reason than the fact that our society engages in the same behaviors. However, no matter how old we are, we are all going to be aware of the influence of those around us. As humans, we are hardwired to desire to become a part of a large group.

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