, Volume 14, Issue 6, pp 451-468

The multidimensionality of peer pressure in adolescence

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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.

A version of this paper was presented at the biennial meetings of the Society for Research in Child Development, Toronto, April 1985. The study was supported by a grant to the second author from the Spencer Foundation, Chicago, Illinois.
She received her Ph.D. in 1982 from University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research interests: adolescent peer groups and peer pressure, and implications of various instructional strategies for gifted students.
He received his Ph.D. in 1979 from the University of Chicago. His research interests: effects of peer pressure and peer-group affiliation on adolescent self-concept and identity development, and social development in high school.