Academic journal article Indian Journal of Positive Psychology

Positive Impacts of Peer Pressure: A Systematic Review

Academic journal article Indian Journal of Positive Psychology

Positive Impacts of Peer Pressure: A Systematic Review

Article excerpt

Human beings are social creatures and they cannot live separated from the society. In this sense we all need some or other people that suit us. So, being a social being the role of peer is something that cannot be ignored. Generally speaking, peer means a group comprising of two to many members. It refers to a small group of same aged closed friends usually sharing the same activities (Castrogiovanni, 2002). Peer plays an important role in overall social and emotional development of a person. Both peer and peer pressure are the phenomenon goes hand in hand. As wc already know "peer" means the social group and "peer pressure" can be described as the pressure exerted by a peer group in influencing a person's attitude, behaviour, morals and many aspects of life. The 'pressure involves expectations or demands one to behave in a definite way". Pressure can be of two types the one to perform and also to confirm. And the power of pressure is such that it can make a person violate his/her personal standards in order to be liked and accepted by other members of the group. (Weiten & Lloyd, 2004).This is something that cannot be denied. According to Elliot (2001), peer pressure is defined as the influence exerted by a peer group in encouraging a person to change his or her attitude, values, behaviour in order to conform the group norms. Ryan (2000) defined peer pressure as when people of your own age encourage or insist on doing something or to keep from doing something else, no matter if you personally want to do it or not. The more subtle form of peer pressure is known as peer influence, and it involves changing one's behaviour to meet the perceived expectations of others (Burns & Darling, 2002)

Peer more or less has a role to play in a person life all throughout but it becomes more integral part of the adolescents' life and even plays more influencing role than familial influences. Living in a society people feels obligated to conform to the norms and perceived expectations of the groups to which they belong(Baumeister,1990) and it is more evident among adolescents (Berndt,1996). When children enter adolescence, friends take a more prominent role in their lives. Although children are also confronted by peer pressure but in the adolescent period it becomes particularly evident. Adolescent period as being the phase of transformation where they undergo extensive physical, intellectual, emotional and social changes and thus these changes makes young people commit to take serious task of becoming autonomous individuals. They try to accelerate their developing independence from family and they find a sense of security and a feeling of belongingness and also find their freedom to explore and form their own identities through their peer group (Ciasen & Brown, 1985).

Adolescence spends most of their times in school and in other activities which requires them to spend much them with their peers and as such socialization may impact later social and emotional outcomes, it is very important to understand how their peer affiliation is affecting their development.

Different researches over the years have shown the importance of peer influences on the adolescents. It is well aware that direct and primary social influences occur mainly within individuals' proximal social content, which includes peer groups. Peer influences adolescents' involvement with their families and their involvement in school (Ciasen & Brown, 1986). Kameda et al. (2005) found that peer is one powerful socializing experience and people often change their perceptions, opinions and behaviours to be consistent with the standards or expectations of the peer group.

Interesting enough adolescence are also aware about the fact that they influence each other. In a survey done by Lashbrook (2000) on American teenagers 40 percent of them have blamed themselves for tragedy like Columbine high school shooting on themselves rather on their parents, gun laws or media violence. …

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