What is peer pressure?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

Peer pressure is when another person or a group pressures you to do something that may not reflect your own wishes or values. The pressure can be subtle: an unspoken understanding that if you don’t take a drag on that cigarette, you will become persona non grata in this social circle. Or it can be overt, as when everyone at the party starts chanting “Chug! Chug! Chug!” and won’t stop until you do. Many people put their friends’ needs, whims, and demands above their own.

Sometimes this can be noble and altruistic, as in doing something nice for a friend who is going through a hard time. But at other times, the requests may do you more harm than good. The trick is knowing which is which--and keeping yourself out of harm’s way while being able to take some safe risks. Peer pressure occurs when you throw that rational side of you out the window at your own expense--and sometimes with life-threatening consequences.    

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.