Group Pressure in Youngsters' Dangerous Behaviour

AuthorMimoza Çarka
PositionUniversity 'Eqrem Çabej', Gjirokastër, Albania
ISSN 2410-3918 Academic Journal of Business, Administration, Law and Social Sciences Vol 1 No 1
Acces online at IIPCCL Publishing, Tirana-Albania March 2015
Group Pressure in Youngsters’ Dangerous Behaviour
Dr. Doc. Mimoza Çarka
University “Eqrem Çabej”, Gjirokastër, Albania
Unintentional injury is the leading cause of death and disability in children. Many injuries to
school–aged children occur during unsupervised peer activities, but peer inuences on risky
behavior in preadolescence remain under-investigated. We examined peer context eects on
reported risk-taking, indentied predictors of peer inuence, and compared peer inuence in
high-and low-social-functioning groups. Forty-one boys aged 8-10 years listened to scenarios in
which they encountered opportunities for risk-taking with their best friends, with “cool guys”,
with disliked peers, and alone. ey rated the likelihood that they would engage in risky behavior
in each condition for each scenario. Children also completed measures of friendship satisfaction,
peer orientation, and socially desirable responding. Children reported more risk-taking with
positive peers than alone, and less with negative peers than alone. Children in the high social
competence group showed larger peer inuence, and indicated a preference for risk-taking with
best friends over cool guys. Results are discussed in terms of improving injury prevention eorts
by reconceptualizing “peer pressure” as a developmentally adaptive aspect of child functioning.
Keyword s: preadolescence, cool guys, peer pressure, risk behavior, injury.
Unintentional Injury
Unintentional Injury constitutes an enormous threat to the health and welfare of
children. In this country, twenty two million children are injured every year (Boyce &
Sobolewski, 1989). Prevention of unintentional injuries to children should be considered
a high priority for researchers, policy makers, and society at large. Unintentional injuries,
although oen seen as random and unavoidable (as the term “accident” implies), are
in actuality predictable and controllable. However, determining eective prevention
strategies requires a detailed understanding of the process of injury that transcends
epidemiological data.
e processes that lead to unintentional injuries by children are complex and multi-
deterministic; an exclusive focus on child factors (“internal determinism”) or on
environmental factors (“external determinism”) is insucient and overlooks the reciprocal,
transactional nature of injury events. Injuries result from specic behavior-environment
interactions and many if not all injuries require a failure or break-down at multiple levels
of the system in which the child is permanently embedded. us “injuries are the product
of avoidable environmental and behavioral forces that together produce an unfortunate
outcome” (Peterson, Farmer, & Mori, 1987, p. 33) Whether investigation occurs at an
epidemiological or child motivations and behavior patterns (Jaquess & Finney, 1994),
parental supervision beliefs and practices (Valsiner & Lightfoot, 1987), and structural
considerations in the immediate and broader environment (Rivara & Mueller, 1987).

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