School Climate & Safety Report Roundup

Teenagers Often Get Wrong Idea About Peers’ Behaviors, Study Finds

By Evie Blad — January 13, 2015 1 min read

Teenagers overestimate how often their peers participate in risky sexual and drug-related behaviors, and those misperceptions may cause them to adjust their own behaviors, adapting to social norms that don’t actually exist, a study has found.

Researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Stanford University, and Tilburg University in the Netherlands used peer interviews to cluster a group of high school students into five peer groups—socially oriented “populars,” athletically oriented jocks, deviant-oriented “burnouts,” academically oriented brains, and students who were not strongly affiliated with any specific crowd. Students confidentially answered questions about their own behaviors related to sex, drug use, and criminal conduct; and how often they studied or exercised. Students also estimated how often peers in the other groups took part in each of the same behaviors. Among the findings:

• Students in the popular crowd reported that they had smoked 1.5 cigarettes a day in the past month, but their peers, inside and outside the popular group, thought they had smoked three. Similarly, jocks reported little or no smoking, but peers estimated they smoked one cigarette per day. And burnouts reported smoking two or three cigarettes a day, while their peers put the number at a half or a whole pack.

• Peers assumed jocks binged on alcohol more frequently and had more sex than jocks self-reported.

• Peers also overestimated how often burnouts smoked marijuana, shoplifted, and damaged property.

• Students in the brainy group reported studying about half as long as their peers estimated.

A version of this article appeared in the January 14, 2015 edition of Education Week as Teenagers Often Get Wrong Idea About Peers’ Behaviors, Study Finds

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Professional Development Webinar
Building Leadership Excellence Through Instructional Coaching
Join this webinar for a discussion on instructional coaching and ways you can link your implement or build on your program.
Content provided by Whetstone Education/SchoolMint
Teaching Webinar Tips for Better Hybrid Learning: Ask the Experts What Works
Register and ask your questions about hybrid learning to our expert panel.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Families & the Community Webinar
Family Engagement for Student Success With Dr. Karen Mapp
Register for this free webinar to learn how to empower and engage families for student success featuring Karen L. Mapp.
Content provided by Panorama Education & PowerMyLearning

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Senior Director Marketing
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Camelot Education
Coordinator of Strategic Partnerships
Camden, New Jersey, United States
Camelot Education
Training Specialist -- Little Leaves Behavioral Services
Weston, Florida, United States
Camelot Education
Superintendent, Mount Pleasant CSD
Thornwood, New York
Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates

Read Next

School Climate & Safety Interactive School Shootings This Year: How Many and Where
Education Week is tracking shootings in K-12 schools in 2021. See the number of incidents and where they occurred in our map and data table.
3 min read
Sign indicating school zone.
iStock/Getty
School Climate & Safety When Toxic Positivity Seeps Into Schools, Here's What Educators Can Do
Papering over legitimate, negative feelings with phrases like "look on the bright side" can be harmful for teachers and students.
6 min read
Image shows the Mr. Yuck emoji with his tongue out in response to bubbles of positive sayings all around him.
Gina Tomko/Education Week + Ingram Publishing/Getty
School Climate & Safety Opinion Teaching's 'New Normal'? There's Nothing Normal About the Constant Threat of Death
As the bizarre becomes ordinary, don't forget what's at stake for America's teachers during the COVID-19 pandemic, writes Justin Minkel.
4 min read
14Minkel IMG
Gremlin/E+
School Climate & Safety Letter to the Editor Invisibility to Inclusivity for LGBTQ Students
To the Editor:
I read with interest “The Essential Traits of a Positive School Climate” (Special Report: “Getting School Climate Right: A Guide for Principals,” Oct. 14, 2020). The EdWeek Research Center survey of principals and teachers provides interesting insight as to why there are still school climate issues for LGBTQ students.
1 min read