Longitudinal Examination of Depression and Negative Feedback

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					                                                                        Can Peer Pressure Be A Good Thing?
                                                         Megan M. Schad, Meredyth A. Evans, David E. Szwedo, Joseph P. Allen
                                                                              University of Virginia
                                                  We would like to thank the National Institute of Mental Health for funding awarded to Joseph P. Allen, Principal Investigator, (R01-MH58066) for the conduct and write-up of this study.

                      Introduction                                                         At Time 3, teens came in with their best friends as well as a subset of target
                                                                                           teens also bringing in their romantic partners (N = 95). During this data
                                                                                                                                                                                                          partners who report less use of negative relationship strategies from the
                                                                                                                                                                                                          teen in later adolescence (see Figure 1).
                                                                                           collection, romantic partners’ report of teens’ use of negative strategies was
It has been well documented that peer pressure affects teens’ behavior.                    collected as well as best friends’ perception of conflict resolution between them                              Table 1. Regression Analyses predicting Relationship Qualities for Friendships, Romantic Relationships, and Parental Relationships in
                                                                                                                                                                                                             Late Adolescence
Many studies have shown how peer pressure causes teens to act in certain                   and the target teen.                                                                                                                                                   Best Friend Rpt of    Romantic Partner+        Observed Positive Autonomy
ways, especially with reference to delinquency, alcohol use, and other                                                                                                                                                                                            Conflict Resolution   Rpt of Neg Strategies   & Relatedness to Mom
friendships (Berdt & Keefe, 1995; Pleydon & Schner, 2001). There is,                       Measures                                                                                                                                                               β entry     β final   β entry     β final      β entry     β final

however, a lack of longitudinal research examining peer pressure’s possible                                                                                                                               Step 1.
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Gender                                                    .10       .05        .27**      .37***        -.13        -.02
positive effects on adolescent friendships. Similarly, there is a lack of                  Pressure to Fit In                                                                                             Income                                                    .18*      .12       -.07       -.03           -.17*        .33
research linking peer pressure to other types of close relationships, such as
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Step 2.
parent-teen and romantic relationships.                                                    This scale was modeled off the Self-Perception Profile (Harter, 1998), and has                                 Pressure to Fit In                                        .29***    .29***    -.28**     -.28**         .25***       .25***

                                                                                           adequate internal consistency (α = .61). This 16-item scale included items such                                R2 from Step 1.                                           .04*                 .08*                     .04*
This study addresses these issues by employing longitudinal, multi-reporter                as “Some teens do things just because other teens do them.”                                                    ΔR2                                                                 .08***                .07**                      .16***

data to examine the positive effects of peer pressure on adolescents’                                                                                                                                     Final R2                                                            .12***                .15**                      .20***
relationships with their friends, romantic partners & parents. It is                       Positive Autonomy & Relatedness                                                                                Note. * p < .05. ** p < .01. *** p < .001. + N = 95, else N = 184
important to note that a specified form of peer pressure is being used in the
current study, described as Pressure to Fit In. This pressure is focused on                Target teens and mothers were asked to discuss an area of disagreement that the
interpersonal aspects such as “getting ideas about how to act from their                                                                                                                                                                                                            Observed Positive
                                                                                           teen chose for 8 minutes and try to come to some agreement about the topic.
friends.” Specifically, the following questions will be addressed:                         The tape was coded for behaviors including validating mother's statements,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Autonomy &
                                                                                           being engaged (i.e. not distracted) with the task, and how easily the teen retorts                                                                                                       Relatedness to Mom
Research Questions                                                                         (i.e. is the teen confident enough with the relationship to say how they feel with
Does peer pressure positively affect close friendships later in adolescence?                                                                                                                                                                        β =.25***
                                                                                           assurance?) (Allen et al. 1994).
If so, does peer pressure also positively affect other close relationships, such                                                                                                                                                                               β = -.28**           Partner Report of
                                                                                           Network of Relationships Inventory
as romantic relationships and parent-teen relationships, later in                                                                                                                                                   Pressure to Fit In                                              Teens’ use of
adolescence?                                                                               Romantic partners reported on teen’s use of negative strategies on a 5-point                                                                                                             Negative Strategies
                                                                                           Likert scale with higher scores indicating increases in negative strategies
                                                                                           (Furman, 1996). The scale included 3 items.                                                                                                                β =.29***
                              Method                                                       Friendship Quality Questionnaire
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Best Friend Report
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    of Teens’ Conflict
Participants                                                                               Teen’s best friends at Time 3 were asked to report on teens’ conflict resolution.                                                                                                        Resolution
 184 teenagers along with their best friends, mothers, and romantic                       This was collected using the conflict and resolution scale from the Friendship
partners.                                                                                  Quality Questionnaire (Parker & Asher, 1993). This 3-item scale was reported                                    Figure 1. Pressure to Fit In Predicting Positive Interactions with Mother, Best Friends, and Romantic Partners.

                                                                                           on a 5-point Likert scale.
 58% Caucasian, 29% African American, and 13% Mixed or Other
Average household income was within the $30,000 to $39,000 range.
                                                                                                                                  Results                                                                                                          Conclusions
Target teen mean age was 13.3 years at Time 1, 16.3 at Time 2, & 19.6 at                  Results suggest that teens who feel greater pressure to fit in (as reported by                               These findings suggest that feeling pressure to fit in during early adolescence
Time 3.                                                                                    teen’s best friend) during early adolescence (13-14 years in age), show more                                 may be adaptive to the development of positive peer, parent, and romantic
                                                                                           positive relationships with friends, romantic partners, and parents later in                                 relationships. Perhaps those teens who felt the greatest degree of pressure to
Procedures                                                                                 adolescence (18-19 years in age) (see Table 1).                                                              fit in early on, chose to ameliorate such peer pressure by altering their
                                                                                                                                                                                                        behavior, thereby learning how to fit in and improve their relationships with
 At Time 1, target teens’ best friend reported on teens’ pressure to fit in.              Specifically, teens feeling a greater pressure to fit in at age 14, displayed better                         their peers, and in turn, using those same socially adaptive tools to foster other
                                                                                           conflict resolution skills in their friendships 5 years later. Similarly, teens who                          positive close relationships with their parents and romantic partners. That is,
 At Time 2, target teens’ and their mothers were video taped discussing a                 feel more pressure to fit in early on, are more likely to exhibit more positive                              teens who are able to learn how to interact positively with their friends can
topic of disagreement. This interaction was coded for behaviors which                      autonomy and relatedness towards their mother, and to have romantic                                          subsequently learn to cultivate positive relationships with others.
promote the autonomy of the relationships and encourage relatedness
between the two.

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