Adults and Peer Pressure: How to Live a Healthy, Balanced Life

Alisha Johnson, Pratt City Branch Library

Often times when we hear the words “peer pressure” we think of teens and others who are still at that stage of impressionability. Rarely do we think that adult peer pressure exists and that it could even be as damaging to one group as that of the aforementioned. However, adult peer pressure is very real and the effects of it could be that of a negative or positive tone.

Surely we have all heard of the idiom “keeping up with the Joneses,” and how this simple yet complex phrase has destroyed many families and lives. It speaks explicitly to the peer pressure that one feels when there is a perceived failure to keep up with one’s neighbor. In most cases it is materialistic. Many adults feel an overwhelming urge to work extra hours, drive a certain car, have the highest paying job, and acquire more in order to avoid emotions of inferiority. All of these things could have negative effects on a person’s mental health as well as physical health.

Allow me to share with you how peer pressure can be seen as a positive. During the spring and summer months, my neighbors sit on their porches and watch as all the beautiful flowers bloom and the green grass begins to grow. They confer with one another about vacation plans and their next home improvement ideas. It is not until that one neighbor, you know the one who really doesn’t talk with the others, pulls out his lawn equipment and begins to mow the lawn. It is in that moment that others follow suit. It is almost like an unspoken rule that when one person cuts their lawn, we all cut our lawn to keep our neighborhood clean and aesthetically pleasing. This type of peer pressure is not as intentional as the peer pressure that teens and children experience. Nevertheless, if adult peer pressure is not acknowledged and cultivated in the right manner, the outcome could negatively affect your physical and mental health. Ultimately, we should all do what is right for us and stay true to ourselves.

Check out these resources from your local library!

The Power of Others: Peer Pressure, Groupthink, and How the People around Us Shape Everything We Do by Michael Bond
The Power of Validation: Arming Your Child against Bullying, Peer Pressure, Addiction, Self-Harm & Out-of-Control Emotions by Karyn D. Hall, Melissa H. Cook
Discover Your True North by Bill George