toll free: 844.955.3042
local tel: 561.464.6505
fax: 561.450.6637

RECO Intensive
140 NE 4th Avenue
Delray Beach, FL 33483

Social Pressure and How It Affects You

Pressure from social groups and society in general often regulates what people do, what they say, how they react, and how they live. Our innate longing to belong or fit in can enhance social pressure tremendously. 


What Is Social Pressure? 


Social pressure is pressure from friends, family, society, and social norms that manipulate how someone lives their life. Some social norms are good, such as laws and regulations that are created to protect us and should be abided by. Other social norms can be toxic or lead to negative consequences. Social pressure  — sometimes referred to as peer pressure  — can be felt by anyone.


Peer Pressure Has No Age Limit


Peer pressure is most often associated with teens but is highly applicable to adults as well. When children are small and not yet in school, their primary sources of interaction and their main social group are their parents and siblings. But as soon as children start school, they begin to shift and want to belong with their peers. As children grow, peers influence each other even more, and kids often find ways to belong that are not always desirable to their parents. This can lead to conflict, which is just one negative consequence of peer pressure.


One of the most common consequences of peer pressure is experimenting with drugs or alcohol that result in addiction or self-medication. According to the National Institutes of Health, today’s teens face the highest level of peer pressure about vaping and e-cigarettes. 


Because these products come in fun packaging and appealing flavors, teens have been a captive market for vape and e-cigarette companies. Most teens view vaping and e-cigarettes as cool, which can lead to other teens being exposed and/or feeling pressure to vape or smoke to fit in. Many vapes are built to hold liquid nicotine or marijuana, which can lead to experimentation with other drugs as well. 


In some cases, peer pressure does have the potential to be positive. If a child feels they fit in with a group that does positive things, such as extracurricular activities at school, they may behave like their peers and take part in these positive behaviors. Competition and pressure from friends who participate in positive groups can be a stimulator for children and adults alike. 


Pressure as a Stimulator


Social or peer pressure can also stimulate a person to do or achieve certain things. Some examples include the pressure to go to school, get married, buy a house, have children, perform at work or school, and do “normal” adult things. People’s reactions to pressure vary greatly from person to person. 


Research published in the Psychonomic Bulletin & Review found that the promise of rewards, the elimination of losses, and not letting their partner down are closely related to how a person performs under pressure. The researchers also confirmed that people react to pressure differently  — some will naturally “choke” on the pressure, while others seem to thrive under pressure. 


Surviving under pressure can only last so long, and many who keep themselves under constant pressure see a significant mental health decline over time. Those who “choke” or do not perform well under pressure tend to thrive in other areas or learn to adjust to the pressure they often endure. There is no wrong way to perform under pressure, though many would argue that the three main stimulators of pressure listed above can create crucial and life-changing moments.


Pressure as a Stressor


Many people react to pressure with common stress responses, such as “fight, flight, or freeze.” In a work environment, some people do not need to be under pressure to work well. In fact, they work best when there is no pressure, eliminating the need for a workplace to provide pressure for results. In a family unit, if there is a practice or tradition that a person is uncomfortable with, the person may still feel a huge amount of pressure to participate. The pressure to “do this or else” can be toxic and harmful to a person. 


People need to communicate why they are uncomfortable with certain pressures and try to find solutions for any negative consequences that may come with how they choose to respond to pressure, especially if they turn to substances. This may mean finding a therapist or rehabilitation facility, talking to school officials or law enforcement, or finding positive support in new friends. Whatever you choose to do, live by your own standards rather than succumbing to social pressure. 


There are environments where the pressure to try and do things can be toxic. This is what many find when they are first introduced to substance use and abuse. Substance use often starts innocently with experimentation and a yearning to fit in with friends. But what comes next can be devastating, especially when experimentation quickly turns into substance abuse. If you feel like you are struggling with substance abuse or addiction, RECO Intensive can help. At RECO Intensive, we understand how brutal social pressure and peer pressure can be. Our professional staff and experienced alumni are here to support you and help you avoid the dangerous consequences of abusing substances and self-medicating. At RECO Intensive, we cater our treatment plan to your needs to ensure that you are thriving in RECOvery. It’s time to make a positive change in your life. Call us today at (561) 464-6533. Let’s get back to a brighter future.

Recent Articles

Discover a better life and call our recovery helpline today.