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Influence of peer pressure on risk taking behaviour

Updated: Dec 7, 2023

Taking risks is part of growing up and can be a positive experience. For example:

  • trying a new sport

  • raising money for a charity

  • meeting new people

However risk-taking behaviour usually refers to behaviour that may not necessarily have a positive outcome. Deciding to take part in risk-taking behaviour may have long term consequences for the person involved and may even put others lives in danger. Examples of the most common risk-taking behaviours include:

  • joy-riding

  • dangerous driving

  • anti-social behaviour

  • deliberate self-harm

  • severe or excessive dieting

  • unprotected sex

  • compulsive overeating

The influence of peer pressure

A young person may be influenced by their friends encouraging or pressurising them to take part in risk-taking behaviour. The young person may want to 'fit-in' with their group of friends and not seem like the 'odd-one-out' by not taking part.

A young person may lack confidence or feel insecure because they are unable to gain membership of a particular group unless they take an active role within the group.

A young person may be likely to take risks when they are with their friends. Their friends may encourage them to try something dangerous and the young person is afraid to let their 'friends' down.

A young person may want to impress their friends and want to be accepted by them so,the young person may feel it is easier going along with the crowd so as not to be left out of the group.

A young person may fee trapped as they don’t feel they can say "no" or speak up when they are in a risky situation as they may feel embarrassed if they are the only person who says “no”.

A young person may be viewed as the leader of the group and feel pressure from others within the group to take part in riskier activities to maintain the ‘top’ role.

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