Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology

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Volume 4 Issue 5 (December 1994), Pages fmi-fmi, 313-376

Peer group processes and adolescent health‐related behaviour: More than ‘peer group pressure’? (pages 329-345)


This paper argues that ‘peer group pressure’ conveys an individualistic and hence inadequate account of the group processes involved in adolescents' adoption of health‐related behaviours such as smoking and drinking. We describe traditional analyses of adolescent peer processes, illustrate how these contain a series of individualistic assumptions about peer interactions/social influence processes, and describe how these structure the analysis of adolescent health‐related behaviour and health education interventions. We highlight the inadequacies of these analyses, outline an alternative and draw out its implications for health education.

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