From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
“Man cannot become attached to higher aims and submit to a rule if he sees nothing above him to which he belongs. To free himself from all social pressure is to abandon himself and demoralize him.” --Suicide (1897) by Émile Durkheim
Peer pressure (or social pressure) is the direct influence on people by peers, or the effect on an individual who gets encouraged to follow their peers by changing their attitudes, values or behaviors to conform to those of the influencing group or individual. This can result in either a positive or negative effect, or both. Social groups affected include both membership groups, in which individuals are "formally" members (such as political parties and trade unions), and cliques, in which membership is not clearly defined. However, a person does not need to be a member or be seeking membership of a group to be affected by peer pressure. Peer pressure can decrease one's confidence.
There has been considerable study regarding the effects of peer pressure on children and adolescents, and in popular discourse the term is mostly used in the contexts of those age groups. For children, the common themes for study regard their abilities for independent decision making; for adolescents, peer pressure's relationship with sexual intercourse and substance abuse have been significantly researched. Peer pressure can affect individuals of all ethnicity, genders and ages, however. Peer pressure has moved from strictly face-to-face interaction to digital interaction as well. Social media offers opportunities for adolescents and adults alike to instill and/or experience pressure every day.
Research suggests that not just individuals but also organizations, such as large corporations, are susceptible to peer pressures, such as pressures from other firms in their industry or headquarters city.
- Abilene paradox
- Collective narcissism
- Milieu control
- Opinion corridor
- Pluralistic ignorance
- Social exclusion
- Social norms marketing