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How Do Peers and Family Influence the Life of the Youth

Updated on September 29, 2010

This article underscores the pivotal role played by peers and family influences in explaining the change in sexual-risk-taking among the youth. Sexual risk taking behaviors are behaviors like multiple sex partners, unprotected sex and early sex. It has been said that the youth today are into sexual risks behavior and is an increasing trend comparing to a decade ago. Data all over the world suggests that the risks is an increasing trend. The youth are into early sex, unprotected sex and do have multiple partners. This is worrisome because of early pregnancy and other risks to the youth. Usually they also stop going to school if they get pregnant.

Peer influences in the life of the youth

In terms of the influence of friends, it is posited that young people may succumb to peer pressure to conform to sexual standards. However, peer pressure may not totally explain the strong similarities between sexual behaviors of peers but as some social researchers may argue it may occur via acquisition of friends who have similar sexual behavior.

Family influences in the life of the youth

The influence of the family also emerged as a significant factor in the increase of sexual risk taking behaviors. While the family, specifically, the parents, play a central role in the adolescent’s life especially by moderating the potential negative influence of peers, they are also at the core of problems of adolescents who have their own anxieties and conflicts, lack of knowledge and frequent embarrassment over certain topics of discussion, physical absence, psychological distance, and strong needs for control. The absence of parental supervision and limited family dynamics in terms of discussion about sex predispose the young to sexual risk behaviors.

One area that warrants further exploration is the familial discussion of sex. Other information such as the persons involved, the content of the discussion, the manner in which the topic is being discussed, the frequency of discussion are needed in order to fully understand the precise mechanism by which family discussion of sexual matters influence youth sexual risk taking.

Need for future researches about other risks factors such as smoking, drinking and drug use among the youth.

There is a need for future researches which will examine the changes in other adolescent risk behaviors such as smoking, drinking and drug use. It would be instructive and programatically-relevant to determine whether the same processes that impinge on youth sexual risk-taking also operate on these nonsexual risk behaviors.

There is a need for systematic and regular updating of data on adolescent sexuality to keep track of the changes in risk behavior over time for a fuller understanding of shifts in risk behaviors.

As a final note, given the considerable proportion of young people who engage in risky sex today, adolescents should remain a priority target group in health and population programs, there is a compelling need for involvement of youth in peer programs.


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    • gmwilliams profile image

      Grace Marguerite Williams 

      10 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

      This is a great hub. However, I am of the old school-kids should not listen to peers who are the age and of the same experience that they are. Kids should listen to the advice of their parents who have more experience and more years than they do. Enough said.

    • prettydarkhorse profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago from US

      thnaks truth for the read, maita

    • Truth From Truth profile image

      Truth From Truth 

      11 years ago from Michigan

      You said what needs to be said. Too many people hide from the subject. Nice Article. Thanks prettydarkhorse.

    • prettydarkhorse profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago from US

      Hi Carrie jean, yes you are correct as what james had said, thanks for the read, Maita

    • prettydarkhorse profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago from US

      hi James, you are most definitely most correct regarding abortion and contraceptive pills, the world has become worst,

      thanks for the read, maita

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 

      11 years ago from Chicago

      Thank you for highlighting this very serious problem. I read recently that 80% of all American women have HPV. It never goes away and is the cause of cervical cancer an estimated 97% of the time. I don't hear much about it. That one statistic should be creating a national movement for abstinence education but the social liberals in control of public schools dismiss this out of hand saying: Abstinence is impossible. This would come as a big surprise to the billions of human beings who lived before us on this planet who were able to control their urges—before the advent of the birth control pill and the legalization of abortion: the twin towers that led to the explosion of promiscuity.

    • Cari Jean profile image

      Cari Jean 

      11 years ago from Bismarck, ND

      Great hub - I don't think handing condoms out to kids in school is working very well. I think it would be better for them to learn about abstinence and self-respect.

    • prettydarkhorse profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago from US

      oh Richie, it is never right to have a child if you are not ready, specially if you are a child still yourself. If you think you are ready, then go for it, but it is always good to protect onself because of STDS as you said it,

      25 pounds is expensive,

      thanks for the read and have a good day! maita

    • Richieb799 profile image


      11 years ago from Cardiff, Wales UK

      I agree, something is definately wrong.. I think also it is promoted that everything will be aright if you do end up having a child unintentionally so that gives them the impression it is ok..not only are they wasting their own youth but also make life hard for the 'grandparents' who usually end up looking after the baby while they continue school and get a flat to live in. I know because my sister is an example.. it is turning into a very selfish world we live in.

      I did notice the other day that you can buy a chlamydia test yourself kit from the supermarket for around 25 pounds which you send off..

    • prettydarkhorse profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago from US

      Hi Midasfax, yes I hope many can read this article, thank you for commenting, Maita

    • prettydarkhorse profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago from US

      Hi Revlady!

      thanks for the read and for your appreciation of the article, have a good day, maita

    • Midasfx profile image


      11 years ago

      I love the picture in the article, the girl on the right is so funny looking. I hope many people read this article and learn something from it. Youth today keeps getting worse and worse with these addictions and sexual promiscuity. Moral values are soo low. Definitely agree with you prettydarkhorse, we need more youth programs to help these kids today!

    • RevLady profile image


      11 years ago from Lantana, Florida

      Very interesting article. Well written and gives a clear understanding of the primary issues confronting our youth today.

    • prettydarkhorse profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago from US

      Hi Kpartin yes, risky sexual behaviors are among the top problem of the youth today, thanks for the read, Maita

    • prettydarkhorse profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago from US

      Hi Dohn, thanks for dropping by again, Maita

    • K Partin profile image

      K Partin 

      11 years ago from Garden City, Michigan

      Really good topic to write about Maita, babies having babies and STD's on the rise among our young people has to be a priority. Thanks for sharing this important issue.

    • dohn121 profile image


      11 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      Great article Maita. All of us could certainly learn from this. Thanks again.


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