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How middle school students deal with peer pressure

1 January 1996


In the middle school years, adolescents go through great changes and are faced with a lot of pressure. In addition to the physical changes adolescents experience, there are social changes as well. It is during this time in their lives that adolescents begin searching for the acceptance of their peers. It is during this search that adolescents first become familiar with peer pressure. Using Erik Erikson's "Theory of the Eight Stages of the Development of Man" as my conceptual foundation, I examined how a group of middle school students deal with peer pressure.

This qualitative research was done at a middle school in Beaverton. There were three main questions I wanted to have answered: 1) How much influence do an individual's friends have on their behavior? 2) Do middle school students know what peer pressure is? How do they view it?, 3) What have they done, or what do they do as a result of peer pressure?

In order to obtain this information I had to do observations and interviews. The students were observed in a variety of situations; a school dance, during lunch, before school, during class, after school, and during assemblies. Interviews were done with six children of various social activity. In the interviews I specifically asked them questions regarding their dealings with peer pressure. All of the research provided me with good insight as to how middle school students deal with peer pressure.


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