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Peer pressure refers to compulsive feeling of the need to conform to the expectations of one’s close confidants. These confidants are usually close friends or age mates of the affected person. A person’s close associates of the same average age are known as peers. The peer pressure phenomenon often affects young people particularly the teenagers and young adults (Havelin 13). A young person may begin to encounter peer pressure at the onset of his or her puberty or when turning into adulthood. In addition, adults may experience peer pressure in different spheres of their life. It is a common occurrence in workplaces. In this regard, the individual is pressurized to match the performance and achievement of his or her colleagues. However, the causes of peer pressure among the youth are diverse when compared to the causes of peer pressure in adults. An individual is likely to experience pressure from friends who compel him or her to act in a manner as to satisfy their demands. Peer pressure can also be exerted on a person without the knowledge of the peer group members (Havelin 8).
The affected person may try to copy or mimic the behaviors of other peer group members involuntarily to gain acceptance and social regard by the peer group. The affected person is likely to make irrational decisions while under peer pressure. In addition to compromised decision making, the affected person might gradually develop a competitive attitude towards his or her peers. This person will struggle to keep ahead of the other peer group members in all aspects of life that seem to be important to the peer group. If the affected person fails to meet the perceived standards of the peer group, the individual may result to abhorrence of the peer group. Some of the standard that the affected individual tries to attain include social, political or economic standards. In addition, the peer group members might initiate peer pressure by verbally urging their friend or age mate to change his or her attitude or put more effort towards attaining the social or economic status of the other peer group members. The peer group members may behave in a manner suggesting that they do not agree to the affected individual’s status or attitude. Introvert character may also manifest in a serious case of a depressed individual (Prinstein & Dodge 18). The young people are susceptible to peer pressure since during the transition from childhood to maturity there are many changes to their lives. During this time, the young people are under pressure to excel academically, socially, financially, and earn high regard by the society. In addition, they may be required to conform to the dress code of their peers and frequent their favorite leisure and retreat points (Havelin 4). Moreover, for the severe cases of peer pressure, emotional depression is exhibited. The affected person may drift into depression, which affects that person’s performance in everyday chores and duties.
On the other hand, peer pressure may have positive effects on an individual. If an individual’s peer group comprises of well performing individuals, then the individual may be persuaded to work towards equaling his or her friends’ performance (Prinstein & Dodge 3). If the affected person has a chance of realizing a better life by participating in what the peer group members are doing, then, this is positive peer influence brought about by peer pressure. This applies when peer pressure instills determination in the affected individual to outdo his or her friends in positive actions. When the peer pressure has constructive results, cases of depression are rare. However, in the majority of peer pressure cases, the affected individual is persuaded to act in a pervasive manner, which could eventually lead to self-destruction