Does peer pressure have a positive effect?


Pressure from peers can have a positive effect on youth, as a way to nurture one’s personal growth and development. Photo courtesy of Wiki Commons.

Peer pressure is usually thought of as something negative in today’s society. The pressure, for example, to do drugs or skip school comes with consequences. But for some, this kind of pressure is what they need to get motivated in doing something positive.

Peers have an important impact on the social and emotional development of youth. From an early age, their influence begins, and it increases as they enter their adolescent years. This is a natural and healthy way for children to grow and mature. Peers can be positive and supportive. They can also help each other stimulate interest in extracurricular activities or develop new skills, for example.

“Sure, in a light-hearted way, like encouraging a friend to join a club or sport or going to a (school function) to have fun and socialize,” English teacher Rosalynn Cambe said. “That, to me, is healthy peer pressure.” 

I’ve encountered times when this healthy pressure did prove to be beneficial. Last year, my friends, and even some of my teachers, encouraged me to try out for the school play. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to commit to the hours of rehearsal time, since I was already involved in other extracurricular activities; however, I gave it a try, and it turned out to be quite the experience. I landed a main role in the production of “Aladdin Jr.” Though the play never premiered, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I still connected with a lot of students both older and younger. The relationships developed helped to boost my overall confidence as well. 

According to the Center for Parent and Teen Communication, positive peer pressure can fall into several categories. These include: inspiring positive choices, encouraging healthy habits, sharing new experiences and offering moral support. In the article, teens may choose to study for exams because their group of friends are doing it, too. They might also encourage each other to eat healthier or to exercise. Sharing new experiences helps a person to overcome fears, like riding a roller coaster or speaking in front of a class.

In referring to offering moral support, the article states, “Good friends support each other. They try out ideas with one another before going outside their trusted circles. Or, they may learn to solve conflict together. The goal is for them to struggle through hardships and celebrate successes, together.”

Taking all of this into consideration, it’s important to look toward the positive side of peer pressure, too. By giving a friend a push in the right direction, or following the encouragement of loved ones, it’s what is needed for one’s personal growth and development.