EFFECT OF ADOLESCENT SUSCEPTIBILITY TO PEER PRESSURE AND HOW IT AFFECTS PREMARITAL SEX AND SUCH ANTISOCIAL BEHAVIOUR AS ALCOHOL USE AMONG ADOLESCENTS IN SELECTED SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN
. IBADAN, NIGERIA
This study examines the informal, unsupervised peer group, adolescent susceptibility to pressure from such groups and the negative influences on behaviour that results in such antisocial behaviour as alcohol use, in regards to premarital sex, and their consequences like lack of contraceptive usage, unintentional pregnancies, STDs, HIV/AIDS, and illegal termination of pregnancies. It also examines parental neglect as a correlate of conformity and susceptibility to peer pressure as it influences adolescent premarital sex. Data was collected from four hundred adolescent selected randomly from four secondary schools in
North Local Government Area of Ibadan . The research questionnaire included a susceptibility to and effects of peer pressure, an antisocial behaviour inventory, a perceived parental neglect inventory, and a sexual attitude and unintentional pregnancy inventory. Oyo State, Nigeria
The major findings of the study are, there is a significant relationship between adolescent susceptibility to peer pressure and tendency to engage in premarital sexual activity.
Susceptibility to peer pressure is correlated to adolescent engagement in premarital sexual activity. .
Religious affiliation is not a main factor in adolescent engagement in premarital sexual activity as both Christians and Muslims engage in the act.
Adolescent susceptibility to peer pressure is found to have a significant relationship with such antisocial behaviour, as alcohol consumption that encourages a tendency towards participation in premarital sexual activity. Susceptibility to peer pressure is correlated to adolescent antisocial activity.
Parental neglect of developing children is found to have a significant relationship to adolescent susceptibility to peer pressure which in turn may aid engagement in premarital sexual activity especially if the peer pressure is negative. Parental neglect is correlated to adolescent susceptibility to peer pressure.
Adolescence is the life stage that bridges childhood and adulthood. In general, it represents the second decade of life. Many psychologists separate this life stage into early adolescence (10-13 yrs), traditional or mid-adolescence (14-18 yrs), and late adolescence or youth (19-23 yrs). Physically, adolescents are still influenced by their inherited genes, but now the inheritance interacts with new social conditions family, peers, school, dating, and friendships. Biological, psychological maturation and puberty enhances the innate urges to experiment with sexual feelings and enables them to perform or act out such feelings with willing partners of the opposite sex. Socially, an adolescent has already spent years interacting with parents, friends, and teachers, and now, new experiences arise that allows relationships take on a different form, especially concerning the opposite sex, dating and intimacy. Also, the cognitive development of adolescents which involves thought processes that are more abstract and idealistic enable them to develop a separate, unique identity that enhances interactions with the opposite sex.
Adolescence is a crucial time for the emergence of antisocial behaviour, such as premarital sex and its consequences includes unintentional pregnancy, criminal abortion, dropping out of school, health risk problems, to mention a few. Adolescent pregnancy has become a dilemma in most secondary schools in
and most teens become pregnant outside wedlock. In a rough estimate, one of every 10 adolescent females becomes pregnant each year. Other consequences where secondary schools are concerned include the teenage mother dropping out of school, failing to gain employment, becoming dependent on welfare, becoming a burden to their family, allowing them become a prey for human traffickers, or getting involved with commercial sex activities. Nigeria
Group pressure which normally comes from one’s peers occur when an individual or individuals, who are a part of a person’s age group, actively encourage or urge that person to do something, whether or not he or she wants to do it. Since humans are social beings, peer pressure can be a powerful force, as every individual want that sense of belonging to a group, and fear being an outcast. A variety of studies have linked peer pressure with negative consequences, such as alcohol and drug use, sexual risk taking, etc Santor, D., Messervey, D., Kusumakar, V. (2000). However, peers can also have a positive influence on knowledge, attitudes, perception, beliefs and behaviors. The phenomena of peer groups, and susceptibility to negative pressure from peers, anti-social behaviours, premarital sex and its consequences are variables that have been studied and examined extensively. Various studies have investigated the role of peers in shaping values and behavior. How and why peers contribute to involvement in deviance may be debatable and, at times, controversial, but the notion that peers are an important correlate of deviance is widely recognized (Agnew, 1991; Akers, 1979; Warr & Stafford, 1991).
Scope of the study.
The study essentially focuses on adolescents, their cognitive development, identity formation, the individuation process, and the achievement of an autonomous personality. These are variables most relevant to the decision making process, the personality, self concept/esteem of such adolescents that is essentially responsible for the choice of peer groups. The study examines parental neglect, how it makes them susceptible to peer pressure when they join the various unstructured / unsupervised peer groups and conform to pressures from them. It also traces how such associations tend to encourage such anti-social behaviour like alcohol use that encourages tendency towards premarital sex, unprotected sex, and criminal abortion. Again, it examines and intends to enlighten on peers relationships, peer groups, and the influence of this special agent of socialization on others, how they relate, how they inform, the kind of pressure they mount, the susceptibility of most adolescents to such pressures, what makes them conform to pressure, and the effects of such pressures on the adolescent. It also studies the negative and positive aspects of peer pressure, so as to understand how adolescents get lured into deviant acts, or how they may inculcate societal norms.
Method, and Samples.
The study design appropriate for the study is a descriptive research design. The design enabled the researcher collect data using the survey technique to explain, determine, and ascertain the details of the existing phenomena. Samples are taken from the public and private secondary schools in Ibadan Oyo state using the multi-staged sampling technique to select from the population due to the different categories of participants that constituted the population which included students in their middle adolescence and late adolescence.
Research instrument used is the questionnaire method, designed into sections. Section A of the questionnaire includes conformity / susceptibility to and effects of peer pressure. Section B is an anti-social/psychosocial behaviour inventory. Section C is a perceived parental skill/parental neglect inventory, while, Section D is a sexual attitude and unintentional pregnancy inventory. A five point rating scale of (1) Least like me (2) unlike me (3) Undecided (4) Like me and (5) Most like me is adopted for scoring the variables.
Descriptive statistical methods such as the t-test statistical method of data analysis is used to compare differences and evaluate the data collected. A regression analysis is also used to compare the significant levels of independent, dependent variables, and analysis of variance, while the Pearson Product Movement Correlation statistical method is used to correlate data and find relationships among variables. Computer analysis was carried out. The mean and standard deviation is calculated to help in comparison of significant differences.
Ho l: There will be no significant relationship between Adolescent Pre-marital Sex and Susceptibility to Peer-Pressure.
Table 1: Table showing the relationship between Adolescent Pre-Marital Sex and Susceptibility to Peer-Pressure using Pearson Moment correlation Coefficient (r).
Variable Mean Std N r P Remark
Pre-Marital Sex 29.9875 11.5152
400 .458** <.01 Sig.
Susceptibility to Peer-
Pressure 33.0275 6.5520
* Significant at .01
It is shown in the above table that there was significant relationship between Adolescent Pre-Marital Sex and Susceptibility to Peer-Pressure (r = .458**, N = 400, P < .01). The hypothesis is rejected.
Ho 2: Peer pressure will not significantly affect male and female adolescents’ susceptibility to premarital sex.
Table 2:- T – test for the independent samples of Gender Difference, Adolescent susceptibility to peer pressure and Premarital Sex.
Male 169 32.4260 11.6306
1.96 3.679 398 .000
Female 231 28.2035 11.1202
The above table showed that there was no significant difference between the Pre-Marital Sex of the male and female respondents as a result of peer pressure (Crit – t = 1.96, Cal – t = 3.679, df = 398, P < .05 level of significance). The hypothesis is therefore rejected.
Ho 3: Religious affiliation will not significantly affect adolescents’ participation in premarital sex in spite of their susceptibility to peer pressure.
Table 3: T – test for the independent samples of Religious Affiliation, Adolescent Peer pressure, and Premarital Sex.
1.96 -3.020 398 .003
Muslim 116 32.6810 11.6033
The above table showed that there was no significant difference between Adolescent Pre-Marital
Sex and Christian or Muslim respondents as a result of peer pressure (Crit – t = 1.96,
– t = -3.020, df = 398, P < .05 level of significance). The hypothesis is therefore valid. Cal
Ho 4: There will be no significant relationship between Adolescent Susceptibility to Peer Pressure and Antisocial behaviour such as alcohol use in regards to premarital sex.
Table 4: Table showing the relationship between Adolescent Susceptibility to Peer Pressure and Antisocial behaviour using Pearson Moment correlation coefficient (r).
Variable Mean Std N r P Remark
Susceptibility to Peer 29.9875 11.5152
Pressure 400 .704** < .01 Sig.
Antisocial behaviour 24.3300 10.1253
* Significant at .01
It is shown in the above table that there was significant relationship between Adolescent Susceptibility to Peer Pressure and Antisocial variable (i.e. alcohol use) (r =.704**, N = 400, P < .01). The hypothesis is rejected.
Ho 5: There will be a significant relationship between Adolescent Susceptibility to Peer Pressure and Parental Neglect.
Table 5: Table showing the relationship between Adolescent Susceptibility to Peer Pressure and Parental Neglect using Pearson Moment correlation coefficient (r).
Variable Mean Std N r P Remark
Susceptibility to Peer 33.0275 6.5520
Pressure 400 .370** < .01 Sig.
Parental Neglect 40.3575 8.8516
* Significant at .01
It is shown in the above table that there was significant relationship between Adolescent Susceptibility to Peer Pressure and Parental Neglect (r = .370**, N = 400, P < .01). The hypothesis is valid.
Hypothesis 1:- There will be no significant relationship between adolescent premarital sex and susceptibility to peer pressure. This hypothesis is rejected which depicts a significant relationship exists between adolescent susceptibility to peer pressure and premarital sex. This finding is supported by various studies. Berglund et al (1997) note that for young men susceptibility to pressure to be sexually active and multi-partnered may be so great that those who do not fulfill this expectation are open to ridicule by their peers for not being a real man. Another research on delinquency/antisocial behaviour among adolescents in high school settings also found that negative peer relations and susceptibility to peer pressure are related to increased acts of delinquency which include premarital sex (Agnew & Brezina, 1997; Giordano, Cernkovich, & Pugh, 1986; Hurrelmann & Engel, 1992; Kupersmidt & Coie, 1990; Roff, 1992). Also, pressure from peers and family encourage youths to use their adolescent years to experiment sexually in some cultures (Weiss, Whelan & Gupta, 1996). This is sometimes referred to as “sowing wild oats.”
Susceptibility to peer pressure is also found to be correlated to adolescent engagement in premarital sexual activity.
Hypothesis 2:- This states that peer pressure will not significantly affect male and female adolescents’ susceptibility to premarital sex. The hypothesis is rejected which shows susceptibility to peer pressure of either the male or female gender is not a main factor in adolescent engagement in premarital sexual activity as both sexes are prone to peer pressure and engage in the activity. However the study does not cater for age of engagement, diversity of sexual partners, and rate/frequency of engagement. This is finding is supported by several authors such as Weiss et al who claim that in some cultures, boys are actively encouraged and pressured by both their peers and family members to use their adolescent years to experiment sexually (Weiss, Whelan & Gupta, 1996).
, for example, where virginity is highly valued among young women, having multiple sexual partners is taken as a sign of virility in young men (Zelaya et al, 1997). Here, teenage boys face social pressures from older men (including fathers, older brothers and uncles) to have sex as early as possible and, in the recent past, it was not uncommon for fathers to arrange for their son’s sexual initiation with a sex worker (Zelaya et al, 1997). So while for girls, public disclosure of sexual activity leads to dishonour, bragging about sex is common for boys. Berglund et al (1997) note that for young men the pressure to be sexually active and multi-partnered may be so great that those who do not fulfill this expectation are open to ridicule by their peers for not being a real man. Pressure to engage in premarital sex in the female gender usually comes from peers (both male and female) who have engaged in the act and who invariably want accomplices rather than from family members or the society. Nicaragua
While dominant ideologies of femininity promote ignorance, innocence and virginity, such ideals are fast becoming things of the past where premarital sex is concerned. This is obviously without eradication of the ignorance, innocence, and protection of virginity ideals inherent in such ideologies. Modern trends show pressure from boys and peers especially in
encourage adolescent girls to engage in premarital sex even though majority of them are ill informed concerning protection and consequences. Where such sexuality information is available, most girls cannot enforce it. In a recent review of research conducted in seven countries, including Nigeria , Nigeria , Egypt and the Mexico , Petchesky and Judd (1998) concluded that even where sexually active young women (adolescents) are aware of HIV/AIDS and measures to protect against infection, rarely do they have the power to ensure that condoms are used. Philippines
Hypothesis 3:- Religious affiliation will not significantly affect adolescents’ participation in premarital sex in spite of their susceptibility to peer pressure. The hypothesis is accepted which show religious affiliation is not significant and is not a main factor in relation to adolescent participation in premarital sexual activity as both Christians and Muslims engage in the act despite pressure from peers. This is supported by very few research data as there seem to be a dearth of information concerning religious affiliation where premarital sex is concerned. A review of the literature on adolescent sexual behavior and premarital sex reveals piecemeal theoretical statements and inconsistent empirical support for them, Hayes, 1987; Jorgensen, 1983; Miller and Fox, 1987; Strouse and Fabes, 1987. There are some exceptions however where theoretical models have been formulated and tested, for instance DeLamater and MacCorquodale, 1979; Jessor and Jessor, 1977; Jorgensen et al., 1980; Jorgensen and Sonstegard, 1984; Newcomb et al., 1986; Treboux and Busch-Rossnagel, 1990; though, the majority of work has been atheoretical, and no emphasis have been made concerning religious affiliation.
Taking examples from the Nigerian society, participation in adolescent premarital sexual activity obviously cuts across both religions. The indoctrinating nature of the Muslim religion, its subjugation, dominance and segregation of females which has been seen to encourage such psychosocial behaviours like depression, suicide and substance abuse, since fluctuations in self-esteem usually leaves one helpless, confused and pessimistic (Steinberg, 1996) obviously does nothing in the prevention of activity in premarital sex. Neither does the Christian religion’s emphasis on chastity, retention of virginity, keeping an innocent mien, and preventing adolescents from sexuality information has any effect on adolescent participation in premarital sexual activity. This may be viewed in the light of either positive or negative pressure from peers.
Hypothesis 4:- This states that there will be no significant relationship between adolescent susceptibility to peer pressure and antisocial behaviour such as alcohol use in regard to premarital sex. The hypothesis is rejected which shows an existence of a significant relationship between adolescent susceptibility to peer pressure and participation in such antisocial behaviour as alcohol use in regards to premarital sex. Several research has shown that such antisocial behaviour as alcohol consumption has a tendency towards influencing adolescents into engaging in premarital sexual activity. This finding is supported by a survey by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy which found that “7% of youth used alcohol the first time they had sex, and 6% used alcohol the most recent time they had sex.” However, boys will use alcohol for different reasons than girls. Boys are more likely to use in order to relax and to prevent premature ejaculation Sax, L., (2005). Girls will often become intoxicated before engaging in sexual activities because it “numbs the experience for them, making it less embarrassing and less emotionally painful, Sax, L., (2005).” Statistics compiled by the Youth Risk Behaviour Surveillance of the
in 2001, also show that among the 33.4% of currently sexually active students, 25.6% had used alcohol or drug during sexual intercourse. Male students (30.9%) were significantly more likely than females (20.7%) to have used alcohol or drugs during sexual intercourse. United States
Susceptibility to peer pressure is also found to be a correlate to adolescent antisocial/psychosocial activity by the study.
Hypothesis 5:- This states that there will be a significant relationship between adolescent susceptibility to peer pressure and parental skill/neglect. This hypothesis is accepted which depicts parental neglect and parental style of bringing up children is has a significant relationship to adolescent susceptibility to peer pressure. This may in turn aid engagement in premarital sexual activity and other antisocial/psychosocial behaviour especially if the peer pressure is negative. This finding is supported by numerous authors. Studies on parental neglect also point out that neglect encourages association with deviant peers and makes them susceptible to pressure from them as they ultimately influence adolescents towards antisocial behaviours. The link between parental neglect, susceptibility to peer pressure, premarital sex, and delinquency is also viewed from the range of factors demonstrated to influence involvement of juveniles in various atrocities. Authorities like Dvee, 1993; Leung and Lau 1989 identified susceptibility to peer influences as a determinant of delinquency.
In adolescence, empirical studies of parenting style have established that parental involvement, encouragement of psychological autonomy, and demands for appropriate behaviour combined with limit setting and monitoring (‘authoritative’ parenting) contribute to good psycho-social and behavioural adjustment (Baumrind, 1971, 1991; Steinberg, Dornbusch, & Brown, 1992; Steinberg, Darling & Fletcher, 1995). Recent findings indicate that, similar to the way in which parental sensitivity and responsiveness contribute to secure attachment in infancy, parental warmth/involvement, psychological autonomy-granting, and behavioural control/monitoring, are associated with security of attachment, peer relations and ultimately susceptibility to peer pressure in late childhood and early adolescence (Karavasilis, Doyle, & Margolese, 1999). Thus, in adolescence, it appears that parent behaviours that foster autonomy in the context of parental availability, in addition to parental warmth/responsiveness, become important for secure attachment, peer relations, and susceptibility. In terms of correlates with adolescent adjustment, and susceptibility, parental warmth/involvement and behavioural control are associated with greater social competence, autonomy, positive attitudes towards school and work, academic achievement and self-esteem, and with less depression, school misconduct, premarital sex, delinquency antisocial behaviour and drug use (Allen & Hauser, 1996; Lamborn, Mounts, et al. 1991; Parish & McCluskey, 1992; Steinberg, Lamborn, et al. 1992). In terms of resistance peer pressure, as an influence to such antisocial behaviours as premarital sex, substance abuse, etc the effect of parenting appears to operate through the adolescent developing better self-regulation skills (i.e., self control, behavioural competence, and adaptive coping), and less affiliation with deviant peers (Wills, DuHamel, & Vaccaro, 1995). On the other hand, hostile punishment and coercive interactions between parents and children combined with poor parental monitoring contribute to conduct problems in preadolescence and antisocial behaviour in adolescence (Conger, Patterson, & Ge, 1995; Dishion, Patterson, Stoolmiller, et al. 1991.
Parental neglect is also found to be a correlate to adolescent susceptibility to peer pressure by results of the study.
Interventions and Recommendations:-(A). Individual-Level Interventions:- This is focused on the individual to modify related individual-level risk factors. Such programs typically fall within the general category of therapeutic approaches. Three types of approaches can be identified. One approach considers adolescent psychosocial/antisocial behavior to be caused by problems in psychological processes (e.g., emotional, behavioral, and cognitive dysfunction). A second approach, social casework intervention, involves coordination of social and psychological resources to promote life skills and prevent or reduce premarital sex and other antisocial behaviours. A third approach involves the use of biomedical methods and is generally used for treating more severe psycho-pathological forms of antisocial behaviour.
(B). Cognitive-behavioral interventions:- This approach attempts to lessen adolescent premarital sex and serious antisocial behavior by changing the social cognitive mechanisms linked with such behavior. A major assumption is that changing internal factors (i.e., cognition) as opposed to external factors (i.e., reinforcement contingencies) will promote generalization of what has been learned to everyday situations. Most cognitive-behavioral interventions include training participants in one or more of the following areas: (a) cognitive self-control; (b) social perspective taking; (c) moral reasoning; (d) social problem solving; and (e) attitude change. Each of these areas, or components of cognitive-behavioral intervention, has been identified as a significant predictor of antisocial behavior.
(1). Social skills training:- Social skills training programs emphasize the development and practice of discrete behavioral responses to increase pro-social responses in problematic social situations, (Tolan, Pentz, Davis, & Aupperle, 1991). Social skills training intervention involves the use of discussion, modeling, rehearsal, and feedback for teaching behaviors believed to contribute to pro-social engagement (e.g., communication, eye contact, cooperation, sharing) and for teaching general interpersonal skills.
(2). Social Casework:- Social casework combines individual psychotherapy or counseling with close supervision and coordination of social services.
(C). Close Interpersonal Relations Interventions:- Numerous risk studies have demonstrated a relation between adolescent premarital sex and other antisocial behavior and family factors (Loeber & Stouthamer-Loeber, 1987; Tolan et al., 1986) or peer relations ( Agnew, 1990; Patterson & Dishion, 1985).
(1). Family Interventions:- Family interventions have repeatedly shown efficacy and effectiveness for reducing premarital sex and other antisocial behavior and appear to be among the most promising interventions to date (Dumas, 1989; Hazelrigg, Cooper, & Borduin, 1987; Henggeler, 1989; Tolan et al., 1986; Tolan & Mitchell, 1989).
Patterson, 1982, 1986; Patterson, Chamberlain, & Reid, 1982; Patterson & Reid, 1973; Patterson, Reid, & Dishion, 1992) and Wahler and Dumas (1987, 1989), focuses on behavioral parent training to decrease negative parenting and the “coercive” style of interacting that promotes delinquency. Patterson, DeBaryshe and Ramsey (1989) also investigated how family functioning mediates environmental risk factors such as poverty.
(D). Peer Group Interventions:- Peer group interventions emphasize modifying antisocial behavior by changing the nature of the peer group interaction, particularly in terms of shifting peer group norms, promoting youth involvement with pro-social peers, and redirecting the activities of antisocial peer groups. Such interventions can be divided into three types of programs in terms of their focus: (1) those that focus on shifting peer group norms to increase peer pressure for pro-social rather than antisocial activity; (2) those that emphasize preventing association with antisocial peers, redirecting peer group behavior toward pro-social activities, or both; and (3) those that focus on involving youth in conflict resolution with peers, known as peer mediation and conflict resolution programs.
(E). Proximal Social Contexts Interventions:- A third level of influence on adolescent premarital sex and antisocial behaviour stems from factors related to key proximal social settings that impact development. Interventions at this level generally focus on modifying setting characteristics that may promote serious antisocial behavior directly or indirectly or may interfere with the development of pro-social behaviors (Anson et al., 1991). The proximal social settings most frequently targeted for change are schools, neighborhoods, and residential institutions. Within these settings, three intervention approaches can be identified: (a) improving the attitudes, skills, and practices of those working with adolescents (such as improving teachers’ behavior management strategies in the classroom); (b) improving adolescents’ motivation (for example by increasing the predictability of the rewards in the setting); and (c) modifying the organizational climate or operational structures of the setting (such as by involving parents and teachers in solving student problems).
(F). Community and Neighborhood Programs:- Perhaps the most intuitively appealing interventions for adolescents occur at the level of the community setting. In terms of sheer numbers of programs offered, community programs are certainly among the most popular approaches (Cohen & Wilson-Brewer, 1991).
(G). Changing adolescent motivation:- Several studies have suggested that programs designed to change the roles of at-risk youth in the community and increase their motivation toward pro-social behavior can be at least moderately effective in reducing serious antisocial behavior (Jones & Offord, 1989; Schinke, Orlandi, & Cole, 1992; Shorts, 1986). A critical aspect of the effectiveness of such interventions seems to be that they are provided as part of a larger-scale focus that promotes community development. (H). Sex education:- Sex education is viewed as imperative in helping at risk adolescents combat premarital sex and sexual risk behaviours like lack of condom use, illegal abortion, disregrd for STIs. However, if it begins too late in the young person’s life and if it is then aimed at classes of both boys and girls, it could be shocking to the adolescents involved.
(I). Pediatricians:- Lastly, pediatricians are another group that could assist in intervention. This may be achieved by; (a). Helping parents and adolescents identify inappropriate use of sexual images in the media. (b). Encouraging the broadcast industry to show responsible sexual content. (c).Encouraging the broadcast industry to use public service announcements that promote abstinence from sexual intercourse for adolescents. Also, use of public service announcements and advertisements that promote the use of condoms to prevent STDs and pregnancy for adolescents and adults who are already sexually active should be encouraged. (d). Encouraging movie theater and video store owners to enforce film ratings designated by the broadcast industry. (e). Encouraging schools to create media education programs. (f). The broadcast industry should support further research into the impact of sexual content in the media on children’s and adolescents’ knowledge and behavior.
Conclusively, the dependent variables of premarital sex, susceptibility to peer pressure, are all interrelated, with susceptibility to peer pressure being very significant in the adolescent’s tendency towards premarital sex. This is true even when the independent variables of gender, religion affiliation, parental neglect and such antisocial behaviour as alcohol consumption are used in comparison.
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