Peer Pressure and Addiction

Peer pressure comes in many forms. It is most widely acknowledged for being a pervasive force during school years; however, peer pressure can affect people of all ages.

Peer pressure is any sort of influence that pressures someone to act a certain way. Peer pressure can be direct or indirect, but the result is often the same: it results in someone changing their behavior to match that of their peer group.

Unfortunately, many people succumb to addiction as a result of peer pressure. In this article, we’re going to talk about how peer pressure can lead to addiction.

What Is Peer Pressure?

As mentioned above, peer pressure is a type of behavior engaged in – either consciously or unconsciously – by members of a peer group that encourages other members of that peer group to behave a certain way.

The two main types of peer pressure are indirect peer pressure and direct peer pressure.

  • Indirect peer pressure occurs when an individual becomes aware of the behavior of other members of their peer group. They may feel called to emulate this behavior in hopes that it will help them fit in better.
  • Direct peer pressure occurs when a member (or members) directly encourage or persuade someone to participate in a certain behavior.

There are also differences between positive and negative peer pressure.

  • Positive peer pressure occurs when someone is pressured into participating in positive, healthy behavior.
  • Negative peer pressure occurs when someone is pressured into doing something that is unhealthy.


How Peer Pressure Leads to Addiction

There are many different instances in which peer pressure can lead to addiction. Both direct and indirect peer pressure can contribute to the problem.

Many people have seen anti-drug advertisements, movies, or television shows in which a drug-addled youth encourages a younger, innocent member of their peer group to use drugs.

While this certainly can happen, indirect peer pressure occurs just as often – if not more. Young people are easily influenced by their peers and tend to imitate the behavior of people that they respect and admire.

If a youth sees someone using drugs – especially someone that they deem to be a positive influence – then they will become more likely to use drugs themselves. This is especially true if a youth becomes accepted by a group of friends that like to use drugs.

It’s also important to note, however, that positive peer pressure can play a role in preventing drug addiction. Encouraging your child to hang out with healthy, positive-minded individuals may provide them with positive peer pressure that steers them away from drug use.




Peer pressure is, unfortunately, an unavoidable part of life. Fortunately, by preparing for it, one can learn to avoid the influence of peer pressure.

By encouraging children to hang out with healthy, like-minded individuals, parents can help reduce the risks of peer pressure and addiction. Remember that love, compassion, and open communication are important tools for checking in with your children.

If you think that your teen has fallen under peer pressure and begun to use drugs, don’t hesitate to get into contact with a rehab center.

Written by Nigel Ford

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