Influence: The Science of Influencing Your Peers and People Around You


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In relation to the correlation between independent factors, all correlations are positive and significant, with the exception of the correlation between friends with risk behaviours. Friendship quality was not estimated, as it emerged as a non-significant independent variable in the mediation model. Undoubtedly, friends are one of the most important contexts throughout adolescence. That influence may be prevented through specific health promotion interventions, which include peers and parents.

To prevent that influence presupposes to know what variables are included in that process and which of those may have a mediating role, may influence positively and may diminish negative factors. Parental communication and monitoring are two faces of that relation, which are mostly identified as enablers of well-being and protective of the involvement in behaviours, which may endanger health.

But the results achieved through the proposed model have not confirmed that role, in relation with to the communication and parental monitoring variables.

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Communication with parents showed a mediating effect, but the same did not happen for parental monitoring. These effects are evident between communication with parents, the type of friends with risk behaviours and communication with friends, towards less involvement in violence behaviours and well-being. The mediating relations found show that the lower the number of friends with risk behaviour that adolescents have, the easier communicating with parents will be and, in its turn, the higher levels of well-being they will have.

The same happens for the mediation with communication with friends. But concerning the relation between the type of friends with risk behaviours and communication with friends, with communication with parents and a lower involvement in risk behaviours, the relation was negative. Consequently, a harder communication with parents, leads to lower levels of involvement in violent behaviours. This negative relation between communicating with parents and a lower involvement in violence behaviours may be associated with the strong impact that the indicators used in the relation between adolescents and the peer group had, in their behaviours; which may have annulled the positive impact of communication with parents in relation to those behaviours.

This effect suggests that having an easy communication with friends and having less friends with risk behaviours are protective factors in the involvement in violent behaviours, without needing the mediation of easy communication with parents. On the other hand, the factor with a greatest impact in low involvement in violence behaviours is a low involvement in risk behaviours and having a higher number of friends involved in protective behaviours.

This means that, having friends with little risk behaviours and having friends with protective behaviours, prevent violence and risk behaviours. This presupposes that a better communication with parents means stronger feelings of well-being and, as a result, healthier adolescents. Parental monitoring does not emerge as a significant variable neither in the mediation of risk and violent behaviours or the promotion of well-being, health or feelings about school.

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It is reinforced by communication with parents and it is dependent upon a lower involvement in violence behaviours. That dependency shows an unexpected result. Contrary to what is documented in literature Camacho et al. The negative impact of the quality of the friendship, although it is weak, shows that when the friendship is of low quality, adolescents tend to focus in other areas, such as health.

The results show that the role of peers may be relevant to the risk behaviours, violence, well-being, health and feelings about school, directly and indirectly. Influence, whether positive or negative, is associated with the type of behaviours adopted by friends.

As a result, friends that have a higher involvement in risk behaviours have a higher probability in influencing negatively their peers; whilst friends that have more protective behaviours and more easiness in communicating, strengthened by friendships with quality have higher probability of influencing positively their peers. Health promotion interventions targeted at adolescents should take into account the important and positive role that peers may have in the adoption of a healthy lifestyle.

Those results could potentially highlight the interaction between both contexts, differently.


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Some of the limitations found in the present study include the fact that the questionnaire is made up of category-type questions, which make the statistical analyses difficult. The fact that a number of participants were lost throughout the analysis was also a negative factor in obtaining and exploring results. Those participants were excluded because they did not responde to the variables used in the study.

This type of transversal study does not enable us to find cause effects, only to verify the association between the variables. National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. Glob J Health Sci. Published online Mar 1. Margarida Gaspar de Matos T. Author information Article notes Copyright and License information Disclaimer. University of Lisbon, Portugal. University of Lisbon, Portugal E-mail: tp. Received Oct 26; Accepted Nov This article has been cited by other articles in PMC.

Abstract The current work aims to study both the peer group and family influence on adolescent behaviour. Method 2. Results 3. Table 1 Adjustment index. Open in a separate window. Table 2 Explained variance. Factor R2 Disturbance Communicating with parents. Table 3 Correlations. Limitations Some of the limitations found in the present study include the fact that the questionnaire is made up of category-type questions, which make the statistical analyses difficult. References Ackard D. Parent — child connectedness and behavioral and emotional health among adolescents. American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

M, Martins A. F, Vergeles M. Substance use in adolescence: Importance of parental warmth and supervision. V, Duncan T. E, Biglan A, et al.

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Development of adolescente problema behavior. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology. G, et al. Lisboa: Texto; A Escola; p.

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Encino, CA: Multivariate Software; L, Koot H. M, Van der Ende J, et al. Predicting young adult social functioning from developmental trajectories of externalizing behaviour. Psychological Medicine. Copenhagen: WHO; Friendship and adjustment among adolescents. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology. Lisboa: FCT; K, Bree M. Journal of Adolescent Health. Examining the relationship between adolescent sexual risk-taking and perceptions of monitoring, communication, and parenting styles. N, Dyer N, Luo W, et al.

Effects of peer academic reputation on achievement in academically at-risk elementary students. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology. Why do young people drink? A review of drinking motives. Clinical Psychology Review. C, Souren P. M, et al. Peer influence in a micro-perspective: Imitation of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Addictive Behaviors. Impact of perceived parental monitoring on adolescent risk behavior over 4 years. J, Farhat T, Iannotti J. R, et al. Parent — child communication and substance use among adolescents: Do father and mother communication play a different role for sons and daughters?

Addictive behaviors. Equipa do Aventura Social. Web site: www.

Influence: The Science of Influencing Your Peers and People Around You Influence: The Science of Influencing Your Peers and People Around You
Influence: The Science of Influencing Your Peers and People Around You Influence: The Science of Influencing Your Peers and People Around You
Influence: The Science of Influencing Your Peers and People Around You Influence: The Science of Influencing Your Peers and People Around You
Influence: The Science of Influencing Your Peers and People Around You Influence: The Science of Influencing Your Peers and People Around You
Influence: The Science of Influencing Your Peers and People Around You Influence: The Science of Influencing Your Peers and People Around You

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