The effects of peer influence on college student decision making
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The purpose of this study was to assess the extent to which selected decisions of first-semester Virginia Tech students are influenced by peers according to gender and race. An eighteen-item survey instrument was used to collect data about peer influence in student wellness and interpersonal relationships. Subjects for the study included 228 resident first-year students. Data were analyzed by two-way ANOVA procedures.
There were no significant differences between men and women, or between African-American and Caucasian students in the study. Although many students responded that they were influenced by peers in the areas of trying new things and resolving conflicts with friends, students reported they were influenced little by their peers in areas such as the use of illegal drugs, diet, and their feelings toward persons with a sexual orientation other than their own.
Findings from this study suggest that students did not depend on peers for help in decision making regarding issues of wellness and interpersonal relationships~1 These findings should be useful to college administrators who structure out-of-class learning activities by increasing their understanding of the actual influence that students have on one another.
- Masters Theses