Introduction: The Phenomenon of Peer Pressure
Everyone has experienced peer pressure at a certain point in life. Coming either in a form of a persuasion by family members, or as an attempt of the fellow students to make one sign up for an extracurricular activity together with the entire group, peer pressure can take many shapes, yet it inevitably leads to the same battle between an individual and the society.
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Although peer pressure is typically considered a negative phenomenon that contributes to life span reduction, it can also be viewed as a factor that enhances one’s resilience towards harmful outside factors.
Hypothesis: Peer Pressure as an Inevitable and Essential Part of Existence
Though it is generally believed that peer pressure reduces people’s life span, it actually has a positive impact on the alleged “victims” as well. Training people’s ability to withstand social influences and prove their point, peer pressure helps people to become strong and independent personalities with their own frame of mind. Moreover, peer pressure helps one learn to make his/her own decisions no matter what the crowd thinks.
Concerning the Variables: When the Wind of Change Blows
Analyzing every single instance of peer pressure, as well as distilling specific models is hardly possible. However, distilling key factors that trigger peer pressure and influence its course will help understand how to reduce the phenomenon and fight it successfully.
The independent variables and their impact
When speaking of the factors that enhance peer pressure, the atmosphere within the group in question must be mentioned. The behavioral patterns within the group are the primary independent variables of a peer pressure phenomenon – once a victim displays the slightest deviation from the standard pattern, the process of peer pressure starts inevitably.
The dependent variables: experimental model
As for the dependent variables, the behavioral patterns of the victim should be taken into account first. Often, people unwillingly support the oppressors by subduing to the behavioral model that the peers suggest (Mohnen, Pokorny & Sliwka, 2008). Therefore, among the dependable variables, the temper of the victim and his/her aptitude to change under the pressure of the circumstances should be mentioned.
The Utilized Research Methods: Evaluating the Peer Pressure Levels
In the given research, both qualitative and quantitative research methods were used to evaluate the effects of peer pressure on people’s lives. Questionnaires and opinion polls, as well as interviews, were used as the key quantitative methods of research. Among for the qualitative research methods, the following ones were adopted: direct observations, role-play, simulation and case study as the most adequate methods of research in the given case.
Introducing the Participants: Consent, Information Availability and Other Related Issues
The participants of the research were going to be split into three groups according to their age and social status. Therefore, the focus of the research was a group of teenagers (12–15 years old), employees at a local company (25 to 33 years old) and a family (a mother, a father and a 14-year-old son). Each of the participants was instructed about the rules of the simulation, with all the necessary information about the process.
Concerning the Key Findings: The Many Sides Peer Pressure
According to the research results, each of the “victims” of the peer pressure finally made a decision that was demanded in the situations modeled for each group. Among teenagers, 10% (8 boys and 5 girls) were able to make a decision different from the one suggested by the group; as for the employees, only 2% (3 men and 2 woman) managed to face their first challenge.
Finally, 7% (7 people) of the third group managed to withstand the family peer pressure. After the groups faced the second challenge, however, the number of independent choices was much higher (40%, or 42 teenagers, 15%, or 6 employees and 10%, or 10 family members). At the same time, the self-esteem of the research participants has increased by almost 20%, which means that the life span of the participants is likely to grow.
Bumping into Obstacles: The Limitations of the Study
Like any other research, the given study has its limitations. The latter concern age, psychological specifics and outside factors, since these elements are highly variable. In addition, it was impossible to check if the life span of the participants has really increased and by how many years exactly; only health progress could be spotted.
The Possible Extensions for the Research: Digging Deeper
The given research can be continued if analyzing the models of behavior that can help people have positive experience in the course of peer pressure. With the help of a specific conduct, people can learn important lessons about building relationships with people of different tempers. Therefore, being able to stop the peer pressure and at the same time stay on friendly terms is an important skill.
Conclusion: When the Pressure Gets too High
As one might have expected, peer pressure falls under the category of too-much-of-a-good-thing elements of social interaction. While its negative effects on people’s life span are obvious, it appears to train important personal qualities, such as resistance to the pressure of the crowd and the phenomenon known as the “crowd thinking.” Therefore, peer pressure performs a significant social function, teaching people to resist it and, therefore, increase their life span.
Mohnen, A., Pokorny, K., & Sliwka, D. (2008). Transparency, inequity aversion, and the dynamics of peer pressure in teams: Theory and evidence. Journal of Labor Economics, 26(4), 693–720.