Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Child Behavior and Development

pp 402-403

Conformity Among Adolescents

  • Ashlea SmithAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Phoenix College Email author 


Compliance; Conformists; Obedience; Peer groups; Peer influences; Peer pressure; Social competence; Social influence


Conformity among adolescents refers to the degree of compliance (e.g., peer pressure or fitting in) with peer defined socially acceptable norms on how to act, think, and feel.


During the early 1950s and 1960s a new concept that dominated the field of psychology was formed called; “social psychology” that emphasized that all people have a desire to essentially fit in with a group or follow socially accepted norms to avoid being labeled as an outcast [4]. The world is filled with people who long to feel a sense of belonging to a group or a relational connection with other people. Those whom are unable to achieve this need to fit in may then start to feel socially excluded, oppressed, rejected, or regarded as social deviants. This need to fit in or be accepted by peers typically is most prevalent in the adolescent year ...

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