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

Jobs The EdWeek Top School Jobs Virtual Career Fair
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.
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
Curriculum Webinar
How to Power Your Curriculum With Digital Books
Register for this can’t miss session looking at best practices for utilizing digital books to support their curriculum.
Content provided by OverDrive
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
Student Well-Being Webinar
Embracing Student Engagement: The Pathway to Post-Pandemic Learning
As schools emerge from remote learning, educators are understandably worried about content and skills that students would otherwise have learned under normal circumstances. This raises the very real possibility that children will face endless hours
Content provided by Newsela

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School Climate & Safety Spotlight Spotlight on Safe Reopening
In this Spotlight, review how your district can strategically apply its funding, and how to help students safely bounce back, plus more.

School Climate & Safety Interactive Which Districts Have Cut School Policing Programs?
Which districts have taken steps to reduce their school policing programs or eliminate SRO positions? And what do those districts' demographics look like? Find out with Education Week's new interactive database.
A police officer walks down a hall inside a school
Collage by Vanessa Solis/Education Week (images: Michael Blann/Digital/Vision; Kristen Prahl/iStock/Getty Images Plus )
School Climate & Safety These Districts Defunded Their School Police. What Happened Next?
Six profiles of districts illustrate the tensions, successes, and concerns that have accompanied the changes they've made to their school police programs over the last year.
Deering High School in Portland, Maine, one of two schools to have their SROs removed.
Deering High School in Portland, Maine, one of two schools to have their SROs removed.
Ryan David Brown for Education Week
School Climate & Safety Defunded, Removed, and Put in Check: School Police a Year After George Floyd
Education Week has identified 40 school districts that defunded their police after last summer's Black Lives Matter protests.
Police officer outside of a school
Collage by Vanessa Solis/Education Week (image: Bastiaan Slabbers/iStock)