Peer pressure

A group of teenagers in Aberystwyth

Being a teenager brings increasing responsibilities, greater demands from parents and teachers, as well as a growing awareness that life is unfair. Teenagers are often said to be 'finding themselves' or 'testing the boundaries', both phrases that are used to help explain the changes in behaviour in the move from childhood to adulthood.

For some types of less serious offending, the peak age for criminality is 15 to 17 years. One reason that can be attributed to the rise in crime at this age is 'peer pressure'.

Peer pressure can be hard to resist. For example, some teenagers may become involved in anti-social behaviour. Attracting and keeping friends is not always easy. Bullying can occur if an individual teenager is seen to 'do as they are told all of the time'.

Criminologists disagree as to the extent of peer pressure as a factor explaining crime (some see it as less important than other factors). However, most people would agree that 'being in with the wrong crowd' or equally, 'being part of a good crowd' can affect behaviour.