Negative vs. Positive Peer Pressure (Compare/Contrast Essay)

            Peer pressure is one of the most controversial topics in America for the past several years. It is known to be a factor to an increase in crime rate amongst young teens all across the country. According to athletes, peer pressure in their early childhood played as a motivational tactic. In some cases of child depression, peer pressure existed in their households. Whether it is indirectly or directly it is something we all experience on a daily basis. It is still a mystery as to the negative and positive effects peer pressure has on an individual.
            All grade levels of school are vital to a child’s success. Socializing amongst your peers can alter the decisions you make throughout school. Most don’t realize how critical the students’ households can affect their education as well. Dornbusch et al (1985), did research on family conditions and how they affected over 7,000 twelve to seventeen year olds. In his research he targets the marital status of the parents and how that inflicts the susceptibility of the child to antisocial peer pressure. He states that children living with both natural parents are less susceptible to engaging in deviant behaviors with friends than those who live with a single parent. It was also stated that children who live with one natural parent and a stepparent have an equivalent probability of engaging in deviant behaviors. Parents tend to indirectly apply peer pressure on their child when it comes to education. Some children may not be able to perform well with so much pressure coming from home, thus making it a negative form of peer pressure. Other children may take the pressure and turn it into positive peer pressure by making the grades that their parents stress about. Both children undergo peer pressure but the outcome reflects what type of peer pressure it is.
            Likewise, athletes undergo a lot of peer pressure when being introduced to a sport. There are many cases when a sport is passed down through family, which puts a lot of pressure on the children to live to their parents’ expectation. This can cause bad relationships with the child and their parent simply because everyone has their own interests. Although so much pressure is applied, the greatest athletes are those who can sustain so much peer pressure. Peer pressure exists at the beginning by hearing how much talented the other players are. As an athlete, you must be able to turn that negative peer pressure into a positive aspect, such as motivation, and move on. Athletes still are faced with problems that reveal the negative peer pressure effects of playing sports. When a person makes decisions out of their character because of their peers, shows that the person is undergoing some form of negative peer pressure. This happens often when playing a sport that has influential trends. For example, many professional basketball players have tattoos. A player that has no tattoos may feel obligated to get tattoos because of the other players although, it is not deliberately advised.
            Peer pressure is not always direct or obvious. It can also be indirect, and is probably mostly indirect. Direct peer pressure, for example, could be someone who offers you a drink and tells you to try it. Indirect peer pressure could be attending a party where only alcohol is offered. You may feel obligated to drink because everyone else is drinking and you are the only one without a cup in your hand. It also explains that everyone responds to peer pressure at some point because peer pressure is apart of our daily lives. However, the way you choose to respond to the pressure is what matters the most. Some people tend to break under pressure. Those people are usually weak-minded and/or have low self-esteem. Others that do not break are usually stronger and have enough strength to choose what they do and do not want to do.
            Many people say peer pressure is a negative thing, but it shapes who we become in the future. The people we hang with and learn so much about exerts the most peer pressure on us, but we may not recognize it because we allow it. It is simply because we learn new things and try things out because we trust the people around us. The different cases of peer pressure teach us different morals and lessons. Some can use peer pressure as a confidence booster. IN Carrie Silver-Stock identifies the effects of negative and positive peer pressure. She explains the harmful effects that negative peer pressure could have on an individual as well as the beneficial effects that positive peer pressure could have on someone. Negative peer pressure could have serious effects on one's body, mind, and spirit. Negative peer pressure can raise one's level of stress and also cause them to end up in dangerous situations that could lead to death. Positive peer pressure, however, lowers stress levels and helps make better decisions, which should prevent one from ending up in dangerous situations. Negative peer pressure can negatively affect family life and other important relationships in one's life. Negative pressure can also badly affect an individual's grades and overall performance in school. Positive peer pressure, however, can help improve family relationships and other important relationships. Positive pressure can also help improve overall school performance. Knowing the effects of negative and positive peer pressure can help identify which form of peer pressure one is being faced with.
            Peer pressure is so complex, yet essential to life. Even though it can take us through the toughest times and lead us only to depression, it can also build our character and confidence level to make better decisions. All in all, it will always exist and be a problem that should be further explained and elaborated on. We can avoid some of the negative peer pressure if we evaluate our surroundings a lot more carefully, and turn it into positive peer pressure. Whether negative or positive, it must be taught and be made aware of at early stages of any child’s life to set them on the right path of life.

Work Cited

                        Silver-Stock, Carrie. "Effects of Peer Pressure | LoveToKnow." Teen Life | Teen Fun | Teenagers. LoveToKnow, 2006-2011. Web. 12 Feb. 2011. <>.

Steinberg, Laurence. "Single Parents, Stepparents, and the Susceptibility of Adolescents to Antisocial Peer Pressure." JSTOR. 1987. Web. 31 Jan. 2011. <>.