Topic 4 Understanding influences & peer pressure regarding addictions

Especially in young ages, peers play a valuable role in the formation of the children’s and adolescents’ behavior. Peer relations become more important and stronger in adolescence. Having to do something that they do not want to do, or they would not otherwise do, because peers have urged a child/adolescent to do, can be characterised as peer pressure. Peer pressure can either be negative or positive.

Peer pressure can also be subsidised in terms of how actively or passively it occurs. It is obvious that peer pressure can take the form of actively trying to persuade and pressuring a young person to do something. However, peer pressure can also happen in a more implicit way.

Peer pressure rarely happens through direct pressure, but rather as a result of the young person’s need to follow the “rules” of their chosen peer group and increase their similarity with their peers. Associating with peers who have health-compromising habits can have deleterious effects on children’s health, since it has been found to be associated with the use of smoke and alcohol. Although different in nature than substance abuse, problematic Internet use is also highly influenced by peer pressure, since the more peer pressure increases the more Internet usage also increases.