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NCJ Number: 186943 Find in a Library
Title: Peer Group Pressure, Young People and Smoking: New Developments and Policy Implications
Journal: Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy  Volume:8  Issue:1  Dated:February 2001  Pages:7-32
Author(s): Martyn Denscombe
Date Published: February 2001
Page Count: 26
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: This study considers the effect of peer group pressure on young people's decisions to start or to continue smoking.
Abstract: Peer group pressure is widely regarded as a crucial factor affecting young people's early experimentation with tobacco and their subsequent willingness to continue smoking. However, research with 15- to 16-year-olds in the East Midlands of England has raised serious doubts about the explanatory value of peer group pressure in terms of the contemporary experiences of young people. In focus groups and interviews young people largely rejected the idea that they were victims of peer pressure for three reasons: (1) the notion of peer pressure was at odds with the idea of individual autonomy and self-determination, which they valued highly; (2) they considered that the notion of peer pressure wrongly portrayed them as "victims", thus underplaying their active and conscious collaboration in joining in with the group; and (3) the notion of peer pressure did not take into consideration the multiplicity of peer groups and the flexibility of their composition. The study suggests that the notion of peer group pressure should be reconsidered in view of the growing heterogeneity of young people's peer group relationships and the growing emphasis on individualism and self-identity. Table, notes, references
Main Term(s): Juveniles
Index Term(s): Adolescent attitudes; England; Group behavior; Individual behavior; Juvenile drug use; Juvenile self concept; Peer influences on behavior; Socioculture; Tobacco use
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