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Study Counters Idea That Peer Pressure Tops Parental Influence

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ANN ARBOR (WWJ) –  A new study counters the idea that peer pressure trumps influence of parents and teachers.

Teachers and parents matter more than peers in keeping adolescents engaged in school, according to a new study at University of Michigan Institute for Social Research.

“We were surprised to find that most adolescents continue to be influenced greatly by their teachers and parents when it comes to school engagement,” said Ming-Te Wang, the studies lead author.

“Even though this is a stage when young people are moving toward establishing autonomy and independence, teachers and parents remain important in helping them stay involved in school, and in extracurricular activities. And this is true for all ethnic groups and races, and across all the economic groups we studied.”

Nearly 1,500 teens in grades 7, 9, and 11 from 23 schools in the Washington, D.C. were a part of the study.

The study shows that more boys than girls became disengaged as they progressed through the upper grades.

“Adolescence is a period when relationships with adults who aren’t your parents become increasingly important,” Wang said. “Our results suggest that supportive teachers play a particularly important role in keeping teens engaged in school.”

 

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