Say No: The Negative Influences of Peer Pressure

We all know about peer pressure. Yet, we do nothing about it. It’s one of the most prominent issues amongst high school students and leads to many issues such as drug addiction, self-esteem issues, and in the worst cases, suicide. About 90% of high schoolers face peer pressure and it’s a growing problem within our country, especially with underage drug and alcohol use also on the rise. According to TeenSavers, “70% of teenagers” start smoking because they were pressured into it or were doing it to “fit in.” However, there can generally be good sides to peer pressure too, as it can motivate one to be the best version of themselves.

A good example of a positive peer pressure situation can be in school. Friends motivating you to do better in school, or to get a job can often prove to be good for you, as they help you to become a better person. However in a school setting, for some people, it can sometimes have the opposite effect, as they strive to compete against friends and have a desire to always be better or one step ahead. Most of the time, this leads to depression and stress. According to a study done by Kindbridge Behavioral Health, they found that academic competition has “37% higher odds of depression and 69% higher odds of anxiety.”

Generally, peer pressure has a negative connotation, because of all the effects it can have. Bad peers can motivate you to partake in drug use, alcohol consumption, stealing, or even cheating at school. Just because everyone else is doing it, one feels obligated to do the same thing, as they fear being left out. A study by Western Michigan University showed that 8th graders who were peer pressured into smoking were “2.28 times more likely to report cigarette use” than those who weren’t exposed to such pressure. The results were about the same for 12th graders, as it showed that they were “2.64 times more likely to report cigarette use.” It is constantly seen throughout many grades that the effects of peer pressure don’t vary by age and can have the same consequences for many people.

Therefore, with these rising numbers, it becomes increasingly important for students to protect themselves and learn how to properly say “no” when necessary. In this way, we can learn how to protect ourselves from such consequences and be more aware. In addition, everyone should realize that they are unique in their way, and don’t need to feel obligated to do the things that others do just to “fit in.” Essentially, do what you think is right, not because someone else does it. Using these tools, we can put an end to peer pressure and stop ourselves from being exposed to it.

Works Cited

“Academic Competition and Mental Health Issues.” Kindbridge Behavioral Health, 18 Oct. 2023,,69%25%20higher%20odds%20of%20anxiety. 

Amy Morin, LCSW. “Peer Pressure: How Peers Influence Your Child.” Verywell Family, Verywell Family, 1 Sept. 2022,,to%20get%20a%20job%20too. 

Saxena, Written by:  Silvi. “Peer Pressure: Types, Examples, & How to Respond.” Choosing Therapy, Accessed 6 Nov. 2023. 

Daniel D. White, WMU. “The Impact of Peer Pressure on Self-Reported Alcohol and Other Drug Use”. Western Michigan University,