Peer Pressure Essay

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Research Paper Anmol Gulati EPSY 201 Making decisions are hard for children and even adolescents. It becomes harder when their peers get involved and try to influence their decisions in one way or another. Negative peer influence commonly referred to as peer pressure is one of the major reasons why children and adolescents make bad decisions for themselves. Since peer pressure affects everyone, there is an urgent need to combat this problem. In this paper, I will try to define peer pressure and explain how it works in children. Further, I will try explain why children give in to peer pressure, how it affects their social and mental development and how can it be measured. In the end I will emphasize on steps that can be taken by parents and teachers to combat peer pressure. Peer pressure was explicitly defined by Brown as a phenomenon “when people your own age encourage you to do something or to keep from doing something else, no matter if you personally want to or not”. The key feature of this definition of peer pressure is that individuals in your own age group are actively encouraging or urging you to do something (Brown and Clasen 2012). An explanation of how peer pressure works was given by social psychologist Wendy Treynor. Treynor weaved together two social psychological theories of cognitive dissonance and social comparison into a unified whole to explain peer pressure. This explanation is commonly referred to as the ‘identity shift effect.’ According to Treynor, peer pressure starts with disruption of a child’s sense of peace because of fear of social rejection from its peers. Such a fear comes from failing to adapt to a group’s standard. This is called an external conflict. Thus, to solve this external conflict, a child adapts to the group’s standard, but as soon as a child does that, he or she ends up violating its

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