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1.1     Background to Study

The influence of peer groups on adolescent social behavior has been a subject of extensive research in the field of developmental psychology. Peer groups play a significant role in shaping behavior, attitudes, and social skills during adolescence (Brown, 2004). Brown (2004) stated that peer groups provide a platform for adolescents to develop social skills and understand societal norms. Adolescents tend to conform to their peer group’s norms to gain acceptance and avoid social exclusion.


In a study by Steinberg and Monahan (2007), it was found that adolescents are more likely to engage in risky behavior under the influence of their peers. This is attributed to the heightened sensitivity to social rewards during adolescence.


Contrarily, Prinstein and Dodge (2008) argue that not all peer influence is negative. They found that positive peer influence could lead to improved academic performance and lower levels of engagement in risky behavior. However, the extent of peer influence can vary based on individual characteristics. According to Berndt (2002), adolescents with low self-esteem are more susceptible to peer influence compared to those with high self-esteem.


Shimazoe and Aldrich (2010)   provides several benefits on the use of peer group approach for adolescents. Peer-group promotes deep learning of materials. Second, adolescents achieve better grades in peer-group compared to competitive   or individual learning. Third, adolescents learn social skills and civic values. Fourth, adolescents learn higher-order, critical thinking skills. Fifth, peer-group promotes personal growth. Finally, adolescents develop   positive attitudes toward autonomous learning.


Apart from academic performance, attitude is also a major focus in peer-group. A study conducted by Ifamuyiwa and Akinsola (2008) found that adolescents in the experimental group showed   a   positive attitude towards Business studies. Similarly, Brush (2007), also found that adolescents in the experimental group showed positive attitudes towards their subjects.


Peer group is a term that’s been used to describe a wide array of group arrangements, but most of the research on its success refers to adolescents working in pairs to help one another learn material or practice an academic task. Peer group is a learning support service offered by experienced learners to novice learners. This course will guide you through information and activities that will help you develop skills and knowledge on how to offer peer group services. Peer-group has been well documented in the educational research as a successful pedagogy to improve adolescents’ academic achievement.   It is a fundamental principle of peer  group that group  members are linked together in such a way that they cannot succeed unless everyone succeed, they will actively assist each other to make sure that the assignment is done and the purpose of the group achieved (Deutsch, 2009). They acquire this by providing help and cooperation to each other, sharing resources, and encouraging each other’s efforts. As a result,  group  members  who  work  in  cooperative  groups  outperform  adolescents  who  work  by  themselves  or  in competition  with  each  other  (as  seen  in  competitive  conventional  classrooms)  (Johnson  &  Johnson,  2004).


Peer group is one of the two ways of organizing the learning environment of a classroom, the other being competitive. In peer group environment, the goals of separate individuals become so linked that there is a positive correlation between them; on the contrary, in a competitive conventional environment, the goals of the adolescents are so linked that there is a negative correlation between their goal attainments (Johnson & Johnson, 2004). Peer group establishes a community in which adolescents can get help and support from other group members immediately in a non- peer group environment, just raising their hands and waiting for the right answers to be given.


In the recent years, peer group which attracts the attention of many educators represents an alternative to the traditional learning method. Peer-group is a process in which adolescents learn by working in small groups and helping each others’ learning for a common goal. Since peer group is a group working, it is similar to the set working method. On the other hand, every group working is not peer group unless it provides a certain rules. A group working becomes peer group if every member of the group knows that he or she can’t be successful unless the other members are successful. According to Johnson and Johnson (2008), in order to construct a lesson with cooperative method, five Business  studies principles must be provided: (1) positive interdependence, (2) face-to-face primitive interaction, (3) individual accountability, (4) appropriate use of social skills, and (4) processing group functioning.


According to Gupta (2004), peer-group was very well received by adolescents, and expressed willingness to join peer-group groups in studying the other subjects. Adolescents also reported a positive attitude towards cooperative group learning and rated their work in groups as effective. Burron, (2003), indicated that the peer-group adolescents exhibited significant gains in collaborative skills and indicated a high comfort level for the practical studies. Moreover, properly applied cooperative strategies will also contribute to adolescent socialization within the culture of professional industry, better preparing them for the expectations of the professional world.   Education is the totality of life experiences that people acquire and which enables them to cope with and derive satisfaction from living in the world. This is because it enables them to achieve social competence and optimum individual development. It is on this premise that it is halide that the quality of a nation’s education is proportional to the level of its prosperity. Peer group is a teaching method in which adolescents of the same class and of’ the same age bracket undertakes the teaching of themselves through a process whereby one adolescent among the group teaches other adolescents. it is a procedure that enables each member in a group to participate in the group as a tutor and the other as tutee.


According to Griffin and Griffin (1997), evidence shows that peer-group cannot be effective unless the task and the reward structure are compatible, with simple tasks the reward structure barely needs special attention, but with more complex tasks the reward structure needs more fine tuning with the task (Vedder, & Veendrick, 2003). Successful peer-group experiences in the classroom require as much care in their development and implementation as do traditional individualistic and competitive experiences. Cooperative and collaborative learning experiences require that instructors attend to the formation of the group, the composition of the group, the dynamics of the group, the assessment of adolescent work, and the design of group tasks (Ventimiglia, 2004).


Peer-group approach includes many techniques. Some of these techniques are: learning together, teams-games-tournaments, group investigation, constructive controversy, and jigsaw producers. The learning together technique was developed by Johnson and Johnson (2006). The most important features of this technique are the existence of the group goal, sharing opinions and materials, distribution of the work, and the group reward. The present study is trying to explore the impact of learning together technique of peer-group  on achievement of secondary school adolescents in mathematics. Choosing learning together technique to be used in this study was a justified choice, because the unit of biological diversity could be best constructed by this technique.


Johnson and Johnson (2006) reported that certain instructions must be given place when learning together technique is applied, these instructions are: determining of instructional objectives, deciding the group size, diving the adolescents into groups, arranging of the class, planning of educational materials to provide dependence, giving the roles to the group members in order to provide dependence, explaining of the academic work, creating the positive objective dependence, individual evaluation, providing the cooperation among the groups, being explained the criterions necessary for achievement, determining the required behaviors for success, guiding the adolescent behaviors, helping to the group work, having adolescents come together in order to teach cooperation, finishing the lesson, evaluation of adolescents’ learning qualitatively and quantitatively, evaluating the performance of the group, and forming academic contrasts.


1.2     Statement of the Problem

Several studies have shown that peer groups are powerful agents of risk behaviors in adolescence. Adolescents typically replace family with peers regarding social and leisure activities, and many problematic behaviors occur in the context of these groups. Both peer group pressure and control were positively related to risky behaviors. However, adolescents who were more committed to a personal identity had lower rates of risk behaviors.


Peer groups can can also promote negative behaviours such as bullying, substance abuse, and deviant behaviour. The influence of peer groups can shape an adolescent’s social skills, self-esteem, and overall mental health, which can have long-term effects into adulthood.


Despite the recognized importance of peer influence, there is a lack of comprehensive understanding about the specific mechanisms through which peer groups affect adolescent social behaviour. This includes the role of factors such as peer pressure, group norms, and the characteristics of the peer group itself.


Therefore, this study aims to investigate the influence of peer groups on adolescent social behaviour, with a focus on understanding the underlying mechanisms and factors that mediate this relationship. The findings of this study could provide valuable insights for educators, parents, and policymakers in developing strategies to promote positive social behaviours and mitigate negative influences during adolescence.


1.3     Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of this study is to examine peer group influence on the adolescent social behaviour. Specifically, the objectives of the study are to:

  • find out if peer group can influence adolescents’ moral life style.
  • examine if peer group can influence adolescent choice of relationship in schools.
  • determine if peer group can influence adolescents’ self-control in school.


1.4     Research Questions

The following research questions were stated in line with the research objectives:


  • To what extent will peer group influence adolescents’ moral life style?
  • How will peer group influence adolescent choice of relationship in schools?
  • To what extent will peer group influence adolescents’ self-control in school?



1.5     Research Hypotheses

The following null hypotheses were formulated to guide the study and would be tested at 0.05 level of significance.

  1. Ho There is no significant relationship between peer group and adolescents’ moral life style.

H1 There is significant relationship between peer group and adolescents’ moral life style.


  1. Ho: Peer group has no significant influence on adolescent choice of relationship in schools.

H1: Peer group has significant influence on adolescent choice of relationship in schools.

  1. Ho: There is no significant relationship between peer group and self-control in school.

H1: There is significant relationship between peer group and self-control in school.


1.6     Significance of the study

The study on “Peer Group Influence on the Adolescent Social Behaviour” is significant for several reasons. Firstly, it helps to understand the role of peer groups in shaping the social behavior of adolescents. Adolescents spend a significant amount of time with their peers, and these interactions can greatly influence their behavior, attitudes, and values.


Secondly, this study can provide insights into the positive and negative impacts of peer influence. While peer groups can encourage positive behaviors such as academic achievement and community involvement, they can also promote negative behaviors like substance abuse and delinquency.


Thirdly, the findings of this study can be useful for educators, parents, and policymakers. For educators, understanding peer influence can help in designing effective educational strategies that leverage positive peer influence and mitigate negative impacts. Parents can use this knowledge to better guide their children through the challenges of adolescence. Policymakers can use the findings to develop programs and policies that support healthy adolescent development.


Lastly, this study can contribute to the field of psychology and sociology by adding to the body of knowledge on adolescent development and socialization processes. It can also pave the way for further research on this topic.

1.7     Scope of Study

The study examined peer group influence on the adolescent social behaviour. The study is based on selected School in Ikorodu, Lagos-Nigeria.


1.8     Operational Definition of Terms

The following terms have been defined as they will be used during the course of this study:

Social behaviour: Social behavior is the way people interact with and influence other individuals. One’s social behavior impacts, not only the way other people respond to the current situation, but also their future decisions.


Adolescent: Adolescence is a transitional stage of physical and psychological development that generally occurs during the period from puberty to adulthood. Adolescence is usually associated with the teenage years, but its physical, psychological or cultural expressions may begin earlier or end later.


Peer Group: This a group of people of approximately the same age, status, and interests.


Academic Performance: This is the level of academic education attainable by an individual at a particular point in time as depicted by the subjects’ performance. It is how well a adolescent is accomplishing his or her tasks and studies and the ability of the adolescent to attain success in his or her studies.

Performance: This refers to the extent to which adolescents have achieved their educational goals as represented by their examination scores.

Life Style: The lifestyle of a particular person or group of people is the living conditions, behaviour, and habits that are typical of them or are chosen by them.


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