This study had attempted to find out the role of peer influence on adolescent risk behaviour in some selected secondary schools in Ogun –State. The sample comprises of three selected secondary schools randomly selected for the purpose of data collection. Ninety (90) questionnaires were administered to each school and responses were analyzed. The findings were subjected to chi-square. The null hypotheses were formulated and they were all rejected. The result shows that:

  1. There is no significant different between peer influence and adolescent risk behaviour.
  2. There is no significant different between male and female adolescent risk behaviour.
  3. There is no significant different between parent and adolescent risk behaviour.



Title page                                                                 i

Certification                                                             ii

Dedication                                                               iii

Acknowledgement                                                    iv

Abstract                                                                   vii

Table of Contents                                                     viii


1.1   Background of the Study                                 1

1.2   Statement of the Problem                                        8

1.3   Purpose of the Study                                               9

1.4   Research Questions                                                 10

1.5   Research Hypotheses                                       10

1.6   Significance of the Study                                         11

1.7   Scope of the Study                                           12

1.8   Operational Definition of Terms                       12


2.0   Introduction                                                     14

2.1   The Concept of Adolescent Risk Behaviour      15

2.2   The Concept of Peer Influence                         18

2.3   Strategies for Inferring Peer Influence              20

2.4   Mechanisms of Peer Influence                                 22

2.5   Types of Adolescent Risk Behaviour                        30

2.6   Moderators of Peer Influence                           33

2.7   Suggested Solutions to Adolescent risk

Behaviour                                                                37


3.0   Introduction                                                     42

3.1   Research Design                                              42

3.2   Population of the Study                                   43

3.3   Sample of the Study                                                43

3.4   Sampling Techniques                                      44

3.5   Research Instrumentation                                       44

3.6   Validity of the Instrument                                        45

3.7   Procedure for Data Collection                          45

3.8   Method of Data Analysis                                  46


4.0   Introduction                                                     47

4.1   Analyses of Respondents Bio-Data                  47

4.2   Interpretation of Data                                      49

4.3   Hypothesis Two                                                       50

4.4   Hypothesis Three                                             51

4.5   Discussion of Findings                                    52


5.1   Summary                                                                 56

5.2   Conclusion                                                      57

5.3   Recommendations                                           58

References                                                       61

Appendix                                                         64



  • Background of the Study

Studies in adolescent risk behaviour literature have since long suggested that peers influence ones behaviour. One of the most powerful and consistent predictors of adolescent risk is whether an individual has friends who also engage in that behaviour. Such associations have led many social scientists to conclude that peers exert considerable influence on adolescents. For example, in her review of behaviour studies, Harris (1998) analysed parental and peer influences on adolescent behaviour and concluded that about 50% of the variance on adolescent personality is genetic in origin and the remaining 50% primarily reflects the influence of peers. Bruckner (1996) have compared the influence of different types of peers and have concluded that best friends are one of the most potent sources of influence, more potent than friends in general, or general friendship networks.

Adolescents choose friends on the basis of a set of common values, common personality dynamics, and common life orientations. These values and orientation can encourage or discourage risk behaviour in their own right. The individual with an initial set of values and orientations that predispose him or her towards risk could well engage in risk behaviour no matter who his or her peer are. It just so happens that the peers are people who have similar values and orientations (owing to friendship selection criteria) and hence there is a co-occurrence of risk behaviour.

Berndt (1996) argued that selection effects can be addressed by using longitudinal designs to document concomitant changes in behaviour over time between peers and the target individual. The reasoning is that once the friendships have formed, selection effects have taken place, and so any future co-occurrence of behaviour is likely the result of peer influence. However, the personal qualities that influence friendship selection might still result in behavioural convergence over time, even after friends have been choosen. As an example, two adolescents may be more likely to become friends if they are physically developing at about the same rate. This shared attribute produces concomitant changes in hormones in the future, which can then lead to the future co-occurrence of sexual activity.

The question what exactly is responsible for this association, influence or selection, has been the subject for debate since a long time. General agreement, however is from Aseltine (1995) exists that the relationship between peer and adolescent risk behaviour is a reciprocal one, and thus both processes are involved. Selection is the tendency to choose friends who are more a like in certain characteristics, while social influence implies one changes his or her opinions, attitudes, behaviours in response to that of others.

Many different mechanisms can be used to explain social influence; conformity to group norms, social comparison, social learning, imitation coercion, competition etc. Festinger (1954) proposed the idea that people compare themselves with others when they feel uncertain about their opinions or behaviours and that people tend to evaluate themselves against a reference group of similar others.

Related to the concept of social comparison is the question “who do we compare with?” or “which reference groups are used?”. In its most general definition reference groups are “those groups to which the individual relates himself as a part or to which he aspires to relate himself psychologically”.

Adolescents are members of different kinds of social groups in society, often with conflicting norms and values. The most important reference groups in adolescence are the parents and peers, and it is well recognized that peers become increasingly important during this period, especially for behaviours such as sexual behaviour and substance use. Often, a further distinction is made between “peers” and “friends”. Friends are voluntary associates who form a clique or cohesive group, peers are the larger group from which friends are chosen. Most peer influence studies have focused on only one peer context, frequently within the school or classroom context.

Studies that compare both in school peers without school peers are more scarce. However, peers from different types of risk behaviours (Nicotra 2003). Greater orientation towards out school peers has also been linked with higher delinquency (Haynie, 2005), as teenagers can meet each other in unstructured and unsupervised settings.

Classical theoretical models used in both health and risk behaviour studies have since long suggested that peers influence adolescent’s behaviour.  Theories such as social learning theory (Bandura 1977), and the theory of planned behaviour (Ajzen and Fishbein 1980) have stressed that behaviour  is modeled by direct observation of peer behaviour and that social norms of the peer group are important in fostering attitudes favourable to risk behaviour. Although these theories use a rather broad definition o “peers”, most research in this tradition has studied social influence almost exclusively on terms of friendship relations within a school context such that only information on the risk behaviour of the adolescent’s best friends on school was obtained. More particularly, peer influence has been measured indirectly by using questionnaire in which adolescents’ were asked to what extent their friends practice certain behaviour (i.e perceived behaviour).

The notion that identification increases peer influence is shared by many theories of social influence, most notably social learning theory (Bandura, 1982) and social comparison theory (Suls and Wheeler 2000). Because little research has tested mediators and moderators of peer influence, we define identification broadly so that it can speak to either of these theoretical frameworks. By identification, we mean that a friend can be seen as a relevant standard for self-evaluation, as a meaningful role model, or as a fellow member of an important social category parents also represent an alternative guide to behaviour, and so we predicted that adolescents would be less susceptible to peer influence when they had positive relations with their parents.

  • Statement of the Problem

The problems identified with the study include:

Adolescent that engage in risk behaviours will have low study motivation, unwanted pregnancy may be the result of adolescent that engage in sexual risk behaviour, low levels of academic achievement is associated with adolescents risk behaviour, risk behaviours of adolescents may result in adolescent delinquency and when adolescent engage in risks behaviour they tend to violate the values of their family.

1.3   Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study therefore is summarize as follows:

  1. To find out the concept of adolescent risk behaviour.
  2. To find out the concept of peer influence
  3. To know some of the basic strategies for inferring peer influence.
  4. To estimate the major mechanisms of peer influence.
  5. To detect the various types of adolescent risk behaviour
  6. To find out some of the moderators of peer influence.
  7. To identify various solutions to adolescent risk behaviours.

1.4   Research Questions

For the purpose of this research the following research questions are posed.

  1. What is the relationship between parent and peer influence during adolescent?
  2. What are the various types of adolescent risk behaviours?
  3. What are the different mechanisms of peer influence?
  4. To what levels are the estimate of the influence of peers on sexual activity?

1.5   Research Hypotheses

  1. There is no significant different between peer influence and adolescent risk behaviour.
  2. There is no significant different between male and female adolescent risk behaviour.
  3. There is no significant different between parent and adolescent risk behaviour.

1.6   Significance of the Study

The result of this study will help adolescent to make better grades in school and having higher study motivation.

This study will be of benefit to the parent in the sense that the parent will have greater vigilant about monitoring their children as the adolescent approaches adulthood.

The school also will be benefited from this study in the area of disapproval of the target behaviour.

If adolescents are well managed as pointed out in this study it will be of benefit to the government and the society at large.

1.7   Scope of the Study

This study will centre generally on the role of peer influence on adolescent risk behaviour in Ifo Local Government Area of Ogun State.

Although other local government in Ogun State would have been researched but due to circumstances beyond the researcher control therefore it is restricted.

1.8   Operational Definition of Terms

Role: This is the way in which someone or something is involved in an activity or situation, and how much influence they have on it.

Peer: These are the people who are of the same age or who have the same type of job, social class etc.

Influence: The power to affect the way someone or something develops, behaves, or thinks without using direct force or orders.

Adolescent: A young person usually between the ages of 11 to 12 years, who is developing into an adult.

Risk: The possibility that something bad, unpleasant, or dangerous may happen.

Behaviour: Behaviour can be defined as a ways and manner that individuals act at a specific time.

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