Research conducted by Dr. Kenneth Ferraro, Purdue University, found that PEERS improved both peer leaders and younger participants’ attitude, knowledge, decision making, and behavior. Dr. Ferraro’s research that indicates PEERS may have improved academic performance was published by the American Journal of Health Studies.

Teens have an influential role over their younger peers because they are actually “walking the talk” by having healthy relationships and avoiding risky behaviors, including alcohol and other drugs, and sexual activity.

Peers Educating and Encouraging Relationship Skills

As you know, teens are surrounded by negative peer pressure every day. Positive peer support systems, such as The PEERS Project, help teens avoid reckless behaviors. Youth are highly influenced by a desire to please their friends, to be part of the “in crowd.” It is much easier for young people to choose to avoid reckless behaviors if their friends share these values, and they are empowered by fellow peers who they can relate more with. [1, 2]

Compared to teens who engage in reckless behaviors, teens who avoid them are more likely:

  • To perform better academically
  • To reach future goals
  • To have a healthy self-image
  • To have greater resistance to peer pressure and more respect for parental and societal values [3]

We must empower our youth to combat and avoid behaviors
that could be reckless to their futures.

Compared to adolescent boys who abstain from sexual activity, sexually active boys are:

  • 4 times more likely to smoke
  • 6 times more likely to use alcohol
  • 3 times more likely to be expelled from school
  • 8 times more likely to attempt suicide [4]

Compared to adolescent girls who abstain from sexual activity, sexually active girls are:

  • 7 times more likely to smoke tobacco
  • 10 times more likely to smoke marijuana
  • 2 ½ times more likely to drop out of school
  • 3 times more likely to attempt suicide. [5]

 

These facts are a reality, but so is The PEERS Project.
Together we can continue to empower our teens. 

 

References:

 

    1. Moore K & Zaff J. Building a Better Teenager: A Summary of “What Works” in Adolescent Development. Washington, DC: Child Trends. 2002. See also Kasen S, Cohen P, Brooks J. Adolescent school experiences and dropout, adolescent pregnancy, and young deviant behavior. Journal of Adolescent Research. 1998; 13:49-72.
    2. Udry, JR (2003). National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health), Wave I, April-December 1995. Chapel Hill, NC. Carolina Population Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. See also Protecting Adolescents from Harm, The Journal of the American Medical Association. 1997 Sept 10; vol 278, #10.
    3. Ibid, Waves I & II, 1994-1996.
    4. National Survey of American Attitudes on Substance Abuse IX: Teen Dating Practices and Sexual Activity. National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, Columbia University, New York, New York. 2004.
    5. Ibid.

 

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