Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 14, Issue 6, pp 451-468

First online:

The multidimensionality of peer pressure in adolescence

  • Donna Rae ClasenAffiliated withUniversity of Wisconsin-Whitewater
  • , B. Bradford BrownAffiliated withUniversity of Wisconsin-Madison

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


A sample of 689 adolescents (grades 7–12) from two Midwestern communities who had been identified by peers as members of one of three major peer groups responded to a self-report survey measuring perceptions of peer pressure in five areas of behavior: involvement with peers, school involvement, family involvement, conformity to peer norms, and misconduct. Perceived pressures toward peer involvement were particularly strong, whereas peer pressures concerning misconduct were relatively ambivalent. Perceived pressures toward misconduct increased across grade levels and pressures to conform to peer norms diminished; grade differences in perceived peer pressures concerning family involvement were community specific. Compared to druggie-toughs, jock-populars perceived stronger peer pressures toward school and family involvement, and less pressure toward (stronger pressure against) misconduct; patterns of perceived pressure among loners were more variable across communities. Results elaborated the process of peer influence in adolescent socialization and identity development.