The adolescent stage of development is referring to the teenage years of one’s life. This time in a human’s life is full of ups and downs and is arguably the most difficult years to get through. Psychologists have completed extensive studies on the extent to which pressure from peers and cultural influences affect adolescent development. Pressure from a teen’s peers will guide the actions an adolescent performs. Whether or not the adolescent decides to subdue to this pressure will shape their identity and personality.
Once considered to be the “I wasn’t thinking” response to actions involving peer pressure actually is a phenomenon common among the adolescent brain (Dreifus). In the presence of their friends teens are actually twice as likely to take part in risks they know to be inexcusable behavior. “Having friends nearby doubles the number of risks they take… certain part of the brain is activated by the presence of peers in adolescents, but not in adults. ” (Dreifus).
Peer pressure will dictate many of the teenager’s actions differently than someone who doesn’t comply with these pressures. Cultural influences will guide the social identity an adolescent will take on. Most adolescents follow the current culture and will become any certain identity to “fit in”. The following are examples of what qualities of culture shape the identities of the adolescents; academics, religious functions and the “everyone does it” saying.
Academics follow the generalization that if he doesn’t try then why should I try? (“Adolescent Development”). Often leading to an attitude found undesirable by parents. If an adolescent’s current culture is for staying devout to their God, then they will often follow this attitude to fit in and be like everyone else. The “everyone does it” saying is mainly used to make an individual give into a current cultural blemish and is related to peer pressure.
The factors of peer pressure and cultural influences greatly impact the identity an adolescent forms. These factors are related, often being used in contention with the other, and can combine to affect a human for the rest of their life. “Adolescent Development. ” The New York Times. The New York Times Company, n. d. Web. 9 Oct. 2012. Dreifus, Claudia. “Developmental Psychologist Says Teenagers Are Different. ” The New York Times. The New York Times Company, 30 Nov. 209. Web. 9 Oct. 2012