Peer Pressure Susceptibility Lasts Into Adulthood

The following is excerpted from an online article posted by MedicalXpress.

The term “peer pressure” is often linked to the experiences of children or teenagers in extreme situations. One University of Texas at Dallas researcher wondered if adults continue to succumb to similar pressures of social conformity in everyday situations.

Dr. Kendra Seaman, assistant professor of psychology in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences (BBS), and her colleagues recently examined the battle between self-control and peer pressure in the over-18 crowd.

In a study published in Psychology and Aging, the researchers asked 157 adults ages 18 to 80 to respond to randomly timed surveys via text message in order to monitor participants’ self-control over spontaneous desires in daily life.

The researchers found that the influence of peer pressure continues into early adulthood, while middle-aged and older adults are better at controlling their desires.

Study participants were asked if they had experienced a craving or desire in the last three hours. If they said yes, there were follow-up questions: Did the desire conflict with personal goals, such as healthy living or saving money? Were other people around them during this event? Did they follow the urge to participate? They were also asked to judge the scale of both the urge and the conflict.

Results showed that when desires were experienced in the presence of others enacting that desire, middle-aged and older adults were better at controlling their desires than younger adults.

“While we all know that there is a steep developmental curve for self-control during adolescence, that’s not the end of the story,” Seaman said. “Consistent with other studies on emotion regulation improving with age, these results indicate that resistance to social-conformity pressure grows across the adult lifespan.”

Source: MedicalXpress

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[reposted by] Jim Liebelt

Jim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for HomeWord. Jim has 40 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, having served over the years as a pastor, author, consultant, mentor, trainer, college instructor, and speaker. Jim’s HomeWord culture blog also appears on and Jim and his wife Jenny live in Quincy, MA.

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