Uploaded by Alex Liang

As one reaches adolescence

As one reaches adolescence, one of the primary “developmental tasks” is to
become a part of a peer group (Bourne et al., 1978, as cited in Santor, 2000). By joining
a group, one may find a certain sense of academic and social belonging. These merits,
however, may come at a price. This idea of the “price of group membership” arises
when problems such as substance use and other risky behaviors negatively impact
one’s well-being. Most often, these negative effects of peer relations are blamed on
peer pressure. Within households and even academia, peer influence has been
portrayed as an evil that causes harm. The truth is that peer influence can be both
beneficial and detrimental, and this is evident in how it can have both positive and
negative effects on adolescents’ academic achievement (Temitope, 2015; Mosha, 2017;
Filade et al., 2019). However, there lies an alarming gap in our understanding of how
and why peer influence can have these contradicting effects, and whether people have
any control over it. This led us to question if peer influence can be mitigated or
controlled to provide the best academic and social outcomes for adolescents.
Our paper will focus on examining literature that helps us understand how peer
influence can affect one’s social and academic life and find effective strategies to
mitigate negative aspects while also encouraging its positive features. Our research will
include a multi-faceted review of peer influence, as well as analyze a peer and mentor
model in hopes of creating the best social and academic outcomes. We plan to use a
plethora of academic articles relating to peer pressure to build a holistic view of this
topic. If an article gives us a better understanding of this topic, we plan to take notes
and add them to our evolving annotated bibliography.
Previous studies conducted by Filade et al. show how truly complex peer
influence can be (2019). However, it is understood that peers can affect one’s life in
both positive or negative ways depending on one’s will and friend-group. To further
study this notion of the positive effects, one can look towards the study of cooperative
and competitive friend groups by Roseth et al. (2008). This study displays the potential
in which peer relationships can be built in a cooperative manner, enhancing each
student’s academic and social life. Our research strives to bridge the gap between how
peer influence can be used positively, and how peer relationships can be utilized as the
key to unlock these benefits.
We expect that while it is impossible to control peer influence directly and force
the effects that we want, there are certain strategies that instead focus on the school
environment in which people form peer relations. Thus, by targeting who and in what
way peers form relationships with others, we can form environments that better facilitate
relationships that tend to result in better academic performance and prevent ones that
It is proven that peer influence affects many aspects of an adolescent’s
development. Thus, the state of one’s peer group is a decisive factor in terms of their
overall wellbeing - which is then directly correlated to their academic performance
(Steinberg, 2005). Since peer influence has a significant impact on such an important
period of one’s life, it seems necessary for people to have a solid understanding of how
it functions. We plan to investigate the potential for peer influence to be tamed and
manipulated in ways that allow people to reap the benefits while avoiding the negatives.
This is how we hope to bring an original contribution to the issue.