What Is Positive Peer Pressure?

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Positive peer pressure is the attitude of a peer group that encourages good behavior rather than deviant behavior, according to Kids Helpline. Positive peer pressure is based upon the feelings and intentions behind the pressure placed upon individuals in a group of friends. An example of positive peer pressure is when people encourage someone to give up smoking or to stop drinking alcohol.

Other examples of positive peer pressure include support to get good grades and encouragement to do well in a sport. Peer pressure can help someone realize he should improve his health, start a relationship, eat good food, work hard at a job, be nice to someone and respect others.

The differences between positive and negative peer pressure lie in the outcome, intention and feelings behind the pressure. Someone with good intentions can encourage someone to lose weight even if the recipient of the pressure does not want to do so. Someone can make a negative statement, such as a warning about smoking, to have a positive outcome. Both are forms of positive peer pressure because the final outcomes of both situations are beneficial.

Negative peer pressure leads to worse behavior, such as smoking, drinking, overeating and illegal activity. Positive peer pressure can be goal-oriented with respect to creating new habits, including daily exercise or eating better food.