Peer Pressure in Adolescence

The developmental period of adolescence (ages 12–18 years) marks a transition between childhood and adulthood. It involves biological changes related to puberty, cognitive and psychological maturation, and transitions in social relationships. Adolescence is a critical period for establishing one’s identity and autonomy from parents, with peer relationships playing a key role in this process. Feedback from peers and perceived social status among peers become important determinants of adolescents’ identity and self-evaluations. The mere presence of peers makes adolescents behave more recklessly (e.g., driving too fast) and intensifies problem behaviors that emerge in adolescence (e.g., delinquency and alcohol use). Peers become a powerful source of influence in adolescence, a phenomenon often called “peer pressure” in everyday language. However, peers rarely exert explicit “pressure” to make adolescents ...

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