How Much Influence Does Peer Pressure Play on Teen Drinking? (2022)

Alcohol is technically illegal for people under the age of 21 to consume, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 11 percent of all alcohol consumed in America is by those between the ages of 12 and 20. Alcohol is the most commonly abused drug by American teenagers. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) publishes that 60 percent of adolescents admit to having at least one alcoholic drink by the time they turn 18.

Underage alcohol abuse is considered to be a major public health concern within the US, contributing to injuries, accidents, crimes, poor school performance, and even death. Alcohol impairs judgment and interferes with normal brain function, and can even disrupt healthy brain development when introduced too young. The CDC warns that teens who drink alcohol before the age of 15 are around six times more likely to develop an addiction involving alcohol later in life than those who wait to start drinking until they are of the legal drinking age of 21.

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There are many factors that can contribute to why a teen may begin drinking. Alcohol is cheap and easily accessible. Teens may not view alcohol as a dangerous substance, as they may see their parents and other adults consuming it responsibly. Teenagers often engage in risky behaviors, as parts of the brain responsible for impulse control and decision-making are not fully developed yet. It can also be harder for an adolescent to recognize that their actions will have consequences and what those might be.

Genetics and biological factors can heighten the risk that a person will drink and suffer from issues surrounding alcohol abuse. Alcohol can be consumed as a coping mechanism too, to temporarily mediate stress and anxiety.

Another major contributor to teen drinking is the influence of their peers, or peer pressure. It is often difficult for teenagers to ignore social pressures, and peer pressure can have a massive influence on an adolescent’s behaviors and actions. Peer pressure can then have a significant impact on teenage alcohol consumption.

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The Role of Teenage Peer Pressure in Drinking

A young person’s social identity is often molded by their social group, and by their desire to fit in and be part of the “in crowd.” As published by NYU Steinhardt, peer pressure involves encouragement from others who are of similar age to participate in certain behaviors or activities. Peer pressure is a massive factor in whether or not a person will engage in risky behaviors, which includes underage drinking.

Peer pressure can be both overt and inadvertent. Direct peer pressure involves one person to another, with things like offering someone a drink explicitly or encouraging a person to drink. This may happen in a social situation like a party. Drinks may be refilled without asking for them to be; a person may buy another a drink; or someone may give another a hard time if they are not drinking. It may be difficult for a young person to “just say no,” as it may make them feel like an outcast. Others may even ostracize and socially isolate a person who decides not to drink. Direct peer pressure can also come in the form of an invitation to a social situation with the expectation that drinking will occur.

Peer pressure can also be less overt and more indirect. This form of peer pressure may occur as social modeling. For example, a group of popular students may all be drinking alcohol and they may be considered cool. Others will strive to also be seen in this same light and may then participate in the modeled behavior (drinking alcohol) to try and fit in with this social group, whether or not they are asked to join in.

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The perception that “everyone is doing it” can also influence a teenager to consume alcohol so they are part of the crowd. It can be hard for teens to view themselves, or to be viewed by others, as different; if the perception is that everyone else is drinking alcohol then they are more likely to also drink alcohol.

Teenagers are also prone to exaggerating their exploits to make themselves appear cool or to advance themselves in the social hierarchy. It is entirely possible that they are not actually drinking as much as they claim to be; however, others may think that they are, and this social perception can lead to more drinking by those striving to fit in socially.

Social media plays a role, too. A study published by CBS News indicates that three-quarters of teens between the ages of 12 and 17 who saw their peers “partying” on social media were more likely to then do the same. These images often portray people having a good time, and surveyed teens who saw them were more than three times as likely to try alcohol. This form of digital peer pressure can expand a person’s peer circle and make people feel that they may be missing out if they are not also partaking.

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Advertising and marketing can also influence perceptions, and show drinking in a more favorable light that can encourage underage drinking. Teens often look up to celebrities, and if they see them drinking, they may be more likely to try it, too.

Tips for Managing Peer Pressure

The perception that “everyone is doing it” is often false, as teenage drinking has actually been declining in recent years. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) publishes that over the past six years, binge drinking rates among teens between the ages of 12 and 20 have come down; however, 14% of this age demographic still report engaging in binge drinking in the prior month. Any amount of alcohol can be dangerous for a person who is under the legal drinking age of 21, and binge drinking (the pattern of drinking that raises a person’s blood alcohol concentration up to or above 0.08 percent g/dL) can be particularly risky.

Preventative techniques and campaigns seek to educate the public, schools, and parents regarding the possible hazards of teenage drinking. There are also several ways that teenagers can manage the possible pressures that their peers may exert on them to drink, and learn how to stay sober despite peer pressure.

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Some tips for managing peer pressure to drink include:

  • Keep yourself busy with activities that are not conducive to alcohol consumption, such as sports, clubs, or other recreational events.
  • Use your parents as an excuse; for example, tell your friends that they will smell the alcohol or explain the ways you will get in trouble if you get caught.
  • Establish and maintain healthy relationships with other peers who don’t drink and won’t pressure you to do so.
  • Be aware that people often “talk themselves up” and that they likely aren’t drinking as much as they say they are. Be aware that social perceptions are often skewed.
  • If you do find yourself at a party where there is drinking, ask for soda or fruit juice so you are drinking something. Others may be less likely to pressure you if they see you with a drink, even if it doesn’t actually contain alcohol.
  • Develop a plan for handling peer pressure when it arises. Think of things you can say ahead of time when offered alcohol so you won’t be caught off guard.
  • Talk with your parents about drinking and how to handle difficult situations.
  • Understand the risks and potential dangers of underage drinking, and make a decision to stay sober and hang out with others who will do the same.

FAQs

How does peer pressure affect teen drinking? ›

Effects of Peer Pressure

A review of the research shows that peers have a greater influence on adolescent substance abuse than do parents. Peers can encourage friends to use drugs and alcohol or tease them for being afraid to try them, which can lead to the initiation of drinking and drug use.

How does peer pressure affect alcohol? ›

However, peer pressure can affect all age ranges. One study by Drinkaware found that 35% of adults surveyed drank more than they intended because they were pressured by others[1]. Excessive drinking can be dangerous for all ages, and there is no expiration date on the risk of developing a problem with alcohol or drugs.

How many people drink alcohol because of peer pressure? ›

A pilot study has revealed that 85 percent of people have been pressured into drinking alcohol.

What influences teenage drinking? ›

What influences them to drink? There are many factors at play including peer pressure, stress, genetics, and social and environmental factors. One of the most important of these is the group of people they surround themselves with. This includes the modern issue of social media as well.

How does peer pressure contribute to substance abuse? ›

Negative peer group pressure and addiction tend to be linked. This type of peer pressure leads to someone engaging in unhealthy behaviors, including drug or alcohol use. Peer pressure and addiction relapse may also be linked, as this pressure could lead to a relapse after an addict has chosen to pursue recovery.

How might peer pressure influence your decision to drink and drive? ›

Peer pressure is not only about pushing the limits further. It can also lead someone who has been drinking to feel like they are unwelcome and unwanted. And even though they know that are too drunk to get home, they feel like they must escape a situation at any cost, even if it means drinking and driving.

How does peer pressure cause high risk behavior? ›

Beyond prompting kids to use drugs, peer pressure or the desire to impress their peers can override a teen or tween's fear of taking risks, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse for Kids. 1 This risky behavior with drugs and/or alcohol can result in the following: Accidents. Addiction.

Why is peer pressure a silent destroyer? ›

Peer pressure, is known to be a silent destroyer as it ends or lowers he thinking or imagination power of the people who are in the influence and the do whatever their peers ask them to do and this affects the person deeply as this mostly happens during the crucial periods of time when a person shapes or starts to ...

What are the statistics of teenage drinking? ›

Teen alcohol usage statistics

The 2019 National Drug Strategy Household Survey found 66% of 14–17-year olds have never had a full serve of alcohol. It also found 2.8% of 14–17-year olds drink weekly (while for the 18–24 age group, the figure is 27.9%).

What percent of high schoolers get drunk? ›

Although males historically had higher rates, in 2019, female high school students were more likely to drink alcohol and binge drink than male high school students. 16% of young people aged 12 to 20 years reported drinking alcohol and 9% reported binge drinking in the past 30 days.

What percent of high school kids drink? ›

The overall prevalence of current drinking among U.S. high school students declined significantly from 50.8% in 1991 to 44.7% in 2007, then further declined to 32.8% in 2015. The prevalence of binge drinking increased from 31.3% in 1991 to 31.5% in 1999, then declined significantly to 17.7% in 2015.

Which factor can potentially increase a teenager's alcohol use? ›

Certain early childhood behaviors have been linked to predictors of alcohol use among teens. Impulsiveness, restlessness, aggressiveness and antisocial tendencies have been associated as behaviors signaling a teenager's increased risk for alcohol use and alcohol use disorders.

What influences teenage drinking quizlet? ›

The attitudes of peers, family, and the media strongly influence underage drinking. Identify three major factors that influence underage drinking. A chemical substance that is taken to cause changes in a person's body or behavior.

Can a 14 year old drink alcohol at home? ›

In England, Scotland and Wales, it's not illegal for someone between the ages of five and 17 to drink alcohol at home or on other private premises. But this does not mean it is recommended. The best advice for young people's health and wellbeing is an alcohol-free childhood.

How Does friends contribute to substance abuse? ›

Friends not only provide immediate access to substances, but also model drug using behavior and help shape beliefs and positive attitudes toward the use of drugs (Farrell & White, 1998). Friends' substance use is also likely to influence perceptions of how normative substance use is among peers.

What are the 4 contributing factors that may lead to an increase of learners abusing substance in schools? ›

Risk Factors for High-Risk Substance Use
  • Family history of substance use.
  • Favorable parental attitudes towards the behavior.
  • Poor parental monitoring.
  • Parental substance use.
  • Family rejection of sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • Association with delinquent or substance using peers.
  • Lack of school connectedness.

Does peer pressure greatly contribute to tense negative behavior? ›

Negative peer pressure can lead teens in bad directions. It could lead them to try alcohol or drugs, skip school or engage in other poor behaviors that could put their health at risk. “A teenager's brain is only about 80 percent developed,” says Gurinder Dabhia, MD, a pediatrician at Scripps Clinic Rancho Bernardo.

Why should everyone share the responsibility of not letting friends drive after drinking? ›

Everyone shares the responsibility to make sure their friends don't drink and drive because it could kill their friend, their friend could kill someone else on the road, and everyone should know that drinking makes people's decision making poor. We have a responsibility to take care of others while drinking.

How does peer pressure and peer influence differ? ›

Peer Pressure: Peer pressure is pressure from one's peers to act in a way that is acceptable to the others in the same group. Peer Influence: Peer influence is when a peer's act persuades the others to act in a particular way.

Should I drink as a teenager? ›

Children and young people are advised not to drink alcohol before the age of 18. Alcohol use during the teenage years is related to a wide range of health and social problems. However, if children do drink alcohol underage, it should not be until they are at least 15.

How do you politely refuse a drink? ›

  1. Have some excuses ready. Of course, you can always be upfront about why you aren't drinking, but you shouldn't feel obligated to do so. ...
  2. Opt for a non-alcoholic drink. ...
  3. Pretend you're drinking. ...
  4. Speak with the bartender. ...
  5. Be honest. ...
  6. Offer to drive. ...
  7. Own your 'No' ...
  8. Change the subject.
18 Apr 2021

How can we avoid drinking in social situations? ›

8 Tips to Help You Turn Down Alcohol in Social Settings
  1. Be Confident in Your Sobriety. ...
  2. Bring a Buddy. ...
  3. Be the Designated Driver. ...
  4. Tell a White Lie. ...
  5. Always Keep a Beverage in Your Hand. ...
  6. Change the Subject. ...
  7. Make an Effort to Mingle. ...
  8. Know When to Leave.
29 Aug 2019

Who does peer pressure affect the most? ›

Peer Pressure. Peers play a large role in the social and emotional development of children and adolescents. Their influence begins at an early age and increases through the teenage years. It is natural, healthy and important for children to have and rely on friends as they grow and mature.

What are four types of risk behaviour amongst teenager? ›

Common risky behaviour
  • unprotected sexual activity.
  • sexting and other risky uses of social media.
  • tobacco smoking and alcohol use including binge-drinking.
  • illegal substance use.
  • dangerous driving.
  • illegal activities like trespassing or vandalism.
  • fighting.
  • truancy.
27 May 2022

What are examples of peer pressure? ›

Some examples of negative peer pressure are:
  • Needing to dress or act a certain way.
  • Cheating or copying someone else's work or letting others copy your work.
  • Not including certain people in social activities.
  • Taking dangerous risks when driving.
  • Using drugs or alcohol.
  • Shoplifting or stealing.

What are 4 causes of peer pressure? ›

The causes of peer pressure include the need to fit in, low self-esteem, fear of rejection, and at most time the need to feel safety and security from peers. The effects of peer pressure can be negative and also have the worst outcomes. Peer pressure is most commonly found in the ages of 12-19 years old.

What does God say about peer pressure? ›

Proverbs 29:25

25 The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is safe.

In what ways are teenagers influenced by their peer? ›

Peer pressure and influence might result in teenagers: choosing the same clothes, hairstyle or jewellery as their friends. listening to the same music or watching the same TV shows as their friends. changing the way they talk or the words they use.

How do you stop drinking in peer pressure? ›

How to Deal with Peer Pressure to Drink in Recovery & Stay Sober
  1. Peer pressure can come in many forms and occur at any age. Some people deal with peer pressure to settle down and have children. ...
  2. Be Mindful of the Situation. ...
  3. Walk Away. ...
  4. Find New Friends. ...
  5. Remind Yourself Why You Got Sober. ...
  6. Find a Non-Alcoholic Drink. ...
  7. Be Honest.
1 Aug 2020

How does family influence alcohol use? ›

A longitudinal study found that adolescents in their mid-teens were 2.7 times more likely to drink full serves of alcoholic beverages if their parents had been supplying them with alcohol in their early teen years 17.

How does peer pressure cause high risk behavior? ›

Beyond prompting kids to use drugs, peer pressure or the desire to impress their peers can override a teen or tween's fear of taking risks, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse for Kids. 1 This risky behavior with drugs and/or alcohol can result in the following: Accidents. Addiction.

What are 3 negative effects of peer pressure? ›

Negative effects of peer pressure include: pressure to use alcohol, cigarettes or drugs. pressure to engage in risk taking behaviours. distraction from schoolwork.

What are 4 causes of peer pressure? ›

The causes of peer pressure include the need to fit in, low self-esteem, fear of rejection, and at most time the need to feel safety and security from peers. The effects of peer pressure can be negative and also have the worst outcomes. Peer pressure is most commonly found in the ages of 12-19 years old.

At what age does peer influence peak? ›

Peer influence during adolescence is normal and tends to peak around age 15, then decline. Teens get better at setting boundaries with peers by age 18 according to Laurence Steinberg, a psychology professor at Temple University.

Why do people feel the need to drink? ›

In many cases, a fleeting thought, physical sensation or emotion can elicit the urge to drink. Feelings of frustration, happiness, tension, nervousness and excitement can all trigger the desire to drink.

Why are people so obsessed with drinking? ›

But there is more to alcohol than just hedonic pleasures and nutrients. The clue lies in the fact that we make such extensive use of it in social contexts. The key to this is that alcohol triggers the brain's endorphin system. Endorphins are opioid neurotransmitters that form part of the brain's pain management system.

Why do people like to drink so much? ›

People like to drink alcohol because of its ability to alter emotional states. Alcohol induces euphoria, relaxation, and disinhibition while reducing stress and anxiety.

What influences teenage drinking quizlet? ›

The attitudes of peers, family, and the media strongly influence underage drinking. Identify three major factors that influence underage drinking. A chemical substance that is taken to cause changes in a person's body or behavior.

Should parents allow their teens to drink alcohol? ›

Research shows that parental provision of alcohol to underage teens does not protect against increased alcohol consumption later in life. In fact, there has been evidence to show early introduction may lead to increased binging and alcohol-related problems later in life.

Are you more likely to drink if your parents do? ›

Those who do not think that parents have authority over these issues are four times more likely than other teens to drink alcohol and three times more likely to have plans to drink if they have not already started. Whether teens defer to parents on the issue of drinking is statistically linked to how parents parent.

Who does peer pressure affect the most? ›

Peer Pressure. Peers play a large role in the social and emotional development of children and adolescents. Their influence begins at an early age and increases through the teenage years. It is natural, healthy and important for children to have and rely on friends as they grow and mature.

What are four types of risk behaviour amongst teenager? ›

Common risky behaviour
  • unprotected sexual activity.
  • sexting and other risky uses of social media.
  • tobacco smoking and alcohol use including binge-drinking.
  • illegal substance use.
  • dangerous driving.
  • illegal activities like trespassing or vandalism.
  • fighting.
  • truancy.
27 May 2022

What are examples of peer pressure? ›

Some examples of negative peer pressure are:
  • Needing to dress or act a certain way.
  • Cheating or copying someone else's work or letting others copy your work.
  • Not including certain people in social activities.
  • Taking dangerous risks when driving.
  • Using drugs or alcohol.
  • Shoplifting or stealing.

Videos

1. Teen Substance Use & Abuse (Alcohol, Tobacco, Vaping, Marijuana, and More)
(Oasis Mental Health Applications)
2. Underage Drinking Isn't Actually Cool
(Jacob Howard)
3. Underage Drinking Isn't Actually Cool
(Jacob Howard)
4. Peer Pressure When You’re a Teenager vs. When You’re 26 - Hannibal Buress
(Comedy Central Stand-Up)
5. Underage Drinking Isn't Actually Cool
(Jacob Howard)
6. Teen Brain Development
(National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA/NIH))

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