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Peer Pressure and It's Tremendous Effects on Academic Performance

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Table of contents

  1. Background
  2. Literature Review
  3. How Does Peer Pressure Affect Student?
  4. Conclusion


There are a lot of social issues confronting people in all aspects of humanity; all ages, all classes; all races; all genders etc. One of these confronting issues is peer pressure. Peer-to-peer influence is massive. It is capable of damaging and bringing out the vulnerable out hisher shell too. Peer Pressure is the process in which individuals within the same group influence others in a group to engage in behavior that they may or may not otherwise engage in. Peer pressure is common in all groups, from mates at the workplace to classrooms. The situation, however enormous in schools especially senior high schools. There has been numerous research in an attempt to explain the phenomenon behind it and some of them are summarized in this essay about peer pressure.

Literature Review

Aspirations in life can be achieved or thwarted by the influence of our peers. Educational activities are geared towards ensuring that students achieve mastery educational objectives. In school, thus the senior high school to be precise the extent to which the objectives have been achieved is determined by the level of peer pressure. Peer group are the most influential social forces affecting adolescent behavior such as clothing, hairstyles, music, entertainment and many more. Peer pressure is arguably even more important than parents, teachers and to some extent even counselors during the formative adolescent years. However, studies from different cultures have shown that a child right from infancy to adolescence is faced with the urge to form associations and be accepted by a group.

According to the Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the basic or important need is to acquire affiliation to a group in the society or the environment we might find themselves. Peer relationships are common in schools especially the senior high schools and homes which an individual may come from and this plays a major role in the socialization process and emotional development of children in Ghana. Peer influence begins at an early age and increases through the teenage years, it is natural, healthy and important for adolescent to have to rely on their friends as they grow and mature. Studies have shown that when students are in the midst of their peers, they feel comfortable than when they are in the presence of their parents or teachers. The most important influence on student behavior towards learning is not always from the teachers but the fellow students. Peer pressure is occurring more and more in teens because of fear that their peers may leave or neglect them if they do not conform to the norms and values of the group. When starting school for the first time it is, it is sometimes normal for students to be influenced by their peers as they try to adopt to new environment and cope with friends, belief system and where they can fit in.

A “Peer” is someone that is of equal standing with another, or a peer is someone belonging to the same societal groups especially based on age, grade or status. A peer according to other authors is an individual who is of equal standing with another and belongs to societal group sharing distinct characteristics with this group and interact on a level of equality. Our peers tend to be those individuals we associate ourselves with. A peer may be a “true peer” or a “near peer”.

A “true” peer is an individual who considers themself to be a member of a particular group and is accepted as a member by others in the group. A “near peer” is someone who has similar characteristics to the target group, but differs in some way, for example, they may be a few years older. As children and adolescents our peers can be our classmates and friends. As teens our course mates, coworkers, friends and even members of the family can be our peers. “Pressure” the other hand refers to the use of persuasion or intimidation to make someone do something or act in a certain way. “Peer pressure” is the direct or indirect influence on people by their peers, members of social groups with similar interest, experiences and social statuses, Peer pressure is an emotional or mental force from people belonging to the same social group such as age, grade, or social statuses to act or behave in in a manner similar to themselves. As a child progresses to adolescence parental influence tends to become less significant, while young people develop more intensive connections and relationships to their friends and peers. A lot of their free time is spent in companionship with their peers, valuing them highly as they are persons who adolescents feel they can trust, by whom they feel understood and with whom they share values, attitudes and interests. Peer relationships therefore represent a vital source of emotional support for young people, as well as a major influence on their behavior, attitudes and knowledge. Peer relationships have the potential to foster positive or negative health behaviors and development in a way that an adult would not be able to, depending on the behavior and the roles modelled by the fellow peers. Certain types of behaviors are often manifested during this period of life and can lead to a significant impact on future health in later life of an individual. Particularly peers that are regarded as highly popular have an influencing effect on other like-minded young people. Here’s a breakdown of six types of peer pressure teens face.

How Does Peer Pressure Affect Student?

You may associate peer pressure with negative and positive outcomes such as your child trying alcohol, smoking or drugs. However, peer pressure can also allow certain groups to have positive influences on your child’s life. There’s no way of knowing exactly how your child will be affected. Peer pressure can influence any of your child’s life, from their taste in music to their choice of school subject.

Negative Effects of Peer Pressure – Negative peer pressure is suspected for luring students to engage in negative habits such as over drinking of alcohol, smoking of cigarette and marijuana, and sexual related activities and other socially unacceptable act that destruct them from their academic pursuit. This maladaptive behaviors of student which causes poor academic performance raises the question why student are not concerned about the current state of their academic performance

Spoken Peer Pressure – This type of peer pressure involves asking one individual or a group asking another individual to participate in the same type of behavior.

Unspoken Peer Pressure – With unspoken peer pressure, a teenager is exposed to the actions of one or more peers and is left to choose whether they want to follow along. This could take the form of fashion choices, personal interactions or “joining” types of behavior (clubs, cliques, teams, etc.)..

Direct Peer Pressure – This type of peer pressure can be spoken or unspoken. Direct peer pressure is normally behavior-centric. Peer pressure examples of these kinds of behavior would be when a teenager hands another an alcoholic drink, or makes a sexual advance, or looks at another student’s paper during a test. The other teen is put in a position of having to make an on-the-spot decision.

Indirect Peer Pressure – Similar to unspoken peer pressure indirect peer pressure is subtle but can still exert a strong influence on an impressionable young person. When a teen overhears a friend gossiping about another person and then reacts to the gossip, that is indirect peer pressure.

Negative Peer Pressure – Asking a young teenager to engage in behavior that is against their moral code or family values is a type of negative peer pressure.

Positive Peer Pressure – This type of peer pressure can be direct, indirect, spoken or unspoken. This pressure is felt in a one-on-one situations or groups that yields positive results and a healthier lifestyle choices.


Peer pressure is one of the most important factors affecting the performance of the child in his academic journey. According to Oxford Learning dictionary Academic has to do with anything relating to education. Academic Performance the measurement of student achievement across various academic subjects. Teachers and education officials typically measure achievement using classroom performance and results from standardized test. Academic performance is considered as one of the major achievements in student’s life, it is among several components of academic success. Student’s academic performance is a crucial outcome of schooling, in Ghana also, student’s underperformance in school is often measured with the peers students associates themselves with. Peer Pressure can have either positive or negative impact on students.

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