Peer Pressure and Academic Performance

Peer Pressure and Academic Performance

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Quantitative Research Question
1. What effect does peer support have on academic performance?
2. Does peer pressure affect the academic performances of adolescents in School?

1. “Peer pressure significantly influences academic performance”.
2. “Students who experience peer support have better academic performances, than those who do not have peer support”.
3. “Peer support influences academic performances”.
4. “Academic performance is associated to peer pressure and peer support”.

Qualitative Research Question
1. How does peer pressure and peer support associate to academic performances?
2. How does peer support affect academic performances?

Cho, Y., & Chung, O. (2012).

The researchers investigated the relationship between conformative peer bullying and discovered that peer pressure and its resistance is linked to antisocial conformity.
Conformative peer bullying is defined as “behaviours that supports and reinforces bullying and does not include initiating proactive actions”, (Cho, 2012. p. 521).

Peer Pressure “influences a person to change his/her attitudes, values, behaviours, and relationship in order to conform to the norms of the peer group”, (Cho, 2012. p.521).

Peer Conformity is
“the inclination to adopt behavioral patterns that are considered as acceptable to the peer group”, (Cho, 2012. p.521).

The researchers used the “four-point Likert scale” which rated from “1 = never; 4 = a lot” and the Participant Role Scale (PRS) to measure the variable “conformity’ and “peer pressure”, (Cho, 2012. p. 523 - 524 ).

The participants consisted of 391 second year students from 21 different classrooms in Seoul, South Korea, out of which 285 were boys and 106 were girls, aged between 13-14yrs old.

Between 14 to 18th July, 2008, the researchers obtained informed consent from the teachers and students. After peer assessment was acquired, the researchers distributed the “four-point Likert scale” survey questionnaires to 673 students in 21 classrooms of three middle schools. Students were given about 20 to 25 minutes to respond to the questionnaires.
At the end of the analysis it was discovered that there was a positive correlation between peer pressure, peer conformity and confirmative peer bullying. The effect of bullying is greatly influenced by the bully’s personal characteristics. It also indicated that without a groups influence an individual might not resort to bullying or simply peer pressure drives people to act differently to please others to show their support or capabilities to be in the group.

In conclusion, antisocial peer conformity is one of the causes that influences peer conformity bullying. It also showed that those who cannot resist are influenced more than those who can resist bullying.

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One of the limitations was that the students evaluated same sex peers which might not indicate what the opposite sex could assess and also individuals were asked to evaluate a very large number of their peers. Another limitation was that the causal relations between variables were tested by cross sectional method. The authors recommended Longitudinal methodology to be used for future studies.

Boehnke, K. (2008).

In this study the researchers attempted to find out if peer pressure do affects academic performance and in this case the study was of students of mathematics in a cross cultural society.
Peer Pressure – “Peer pressure or peer victimization usually called bullying in the pertinent literature (Rigby
2002) can take quite different forms, and can also have diverse consequences”, (Boehnke, K., 2008. p.149).

Academic Performance – “is the correlation between objectively
measured mathematical competence and academic performance in school measured by grades in Maths”, (Boehnke, K., 2008. p. 150).
In this study academic performances in the subject of mathematics in schools were measured by grades and age which was selected according to “the rule
followed in the Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), (p. 152).
The participants were year 8 and 9 grade students representing a diverse social background in Germany, Israel and Canada. Majority of the participants were 14 years old who comprised of a total of 842 girls and 823 boys.
The researchers used a questionnaire for all three different groups. However they only analyzed the data which was relevant to peer pressure and academic performance. Some of the questions were closed questions whereby some definite answers were given, as some of the answers were graded from “1 for excellent” and “6 for insufficient”. Some of the questions had choices from four or five choices.
The findings of this research showed that the girls were the main victims of peer pressure in relation to attainments regarding mathematics as a result their academic performances were low.

The conclusion of this research was that girls who have really high competence often hold back their abilities from fear of social exclusion when in teenage. The females are the victims of peer pressure where it was found that boys who are the ones exerting pressure on the girls. Without boys the girls have a good chance to display good performance and will not have fear of social exclusion.
Some limitations discovered were that the sample of high ability students was less and needs to be more. There should be experimental and longitudinal studies also done to examine the connections.

Ellis, L. A., Marsh, H. W., & Craven, R. G. (2009).

This study was aimed to study the changes in lives of adolescents as they go through stages of development. They undergo many types of pressure from families, parents and peers and also receive support from the same people.
If any adolescent has not been able to go through this phase in life, they are more likely to fail in school and develop other problems.
This research looked at how peer support and guide affect their performances.
Peer support, “in all of its forms, are those
planned practices where young people have been given,
and often trained to undertake, a defined task of offering a
learning experience to another young person or group” (Ellis et al. 2009, p. 55).

The researchers used mixed methods for this survey where they used a longitudinal design for quantitative component to monitor 930 children over two years with control group and experimental group.
“The Coping Strategy Indicator (CSI-S) based on the work of Amirkhan (1990) was used to measure three coping strategies commonly used by adolescents when faced with difficulties: problem solving, seeking support, or problem avoidance”, (Ellis et al. 2009, p. 57).
For the qualitative component they took a sub sample of students from the main experimental group and conducted open ended survey with them.

The participants were 930 adolescents aged between 12 to 18 years who were the students of Grade 7 from three schools in New South Wales in Australia. The study was conducted over a period of two years.

In this research the students were given with the Self-Description Questionnaire to answer.
The students were divided into two groups whereby one was the experimental group and the other control group.
The researchers used two methods; firstly open ended questions and secondly focus group discussions.
The students were to answer using a 6 point response scale using SDQII-S (Self-Description Questionnaire II).
Some of the answers were based on the ROPE (Review of Personnel Effective Scale) where the students were to answer using 8 point true/false response scale, (Ellis et al. 2009, p. 57).
The results of this research confirm that quantitative findings were beneficial for Students of Grade 7 as peer support had higher self-concepts. The students in experimental group had lower bullying and were more honest and trustworthy. They were able to manage themselves and their problems with support from their peers. It also showed that with intervention also had impact on student’s resourcefulness.

Since this study was aimed to verify the effectiveness of peer support programs in schools, the final outcome resulted that peer support has overwhelming benefits for the students improving their self-concept for school, their perception of bullying , getting more honest with each other and improvement in stress management. It was also discovered that the role of peer support has capacity to develop personal growth in students.
One of the limitations identified was that since the responses were self-reported by the students, it cannot be confirmed to be accurate.
The second limitation was that this survey was conducted in Australia only and may not be said to contain a generalized answer for all countries. Only three schools were included and cannot be generalized to the entire country.


Boehnke, K. (2008). Peer pressure: A cause of scholastic underachievement? A cross-cultural study of mathematical achievement among german, canadian, and israeli middle school students. Social Psychology of Education: An International Journal, 11(2), 149-160. doi:
Cho, Y., & Chung, O. (2012). A mediated moderation model of conformative peer bullying. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 21(3), 520-529. doi:

Ellis, L. A., Marsh, H. W., & Craven, R. G. (2009). Addressing the challenges faced by early adolescents: A mixed-method evaluation of the benefits of peer support. American Journal of Community Psychology, 44(1-2), 54-75. doi:

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