Background: Peer pressure is regarded as an important determinant of substance use, sexual behavior and juvenile delinquency. However, few peer pressure scales are validated, especially in French or German. Little is known about the factor structure of such scales or the kind of scale needed: some scales takes into account both peer pressure to do and peer pressure not to do, while others consider only peer pressure to do. The aim of the present study was to adapt French and German versions of the Peer Pressure Inventory, which is one of the most widely used scales in this field. We considered its factor structure and concurrent validity.
Methods: Five thousand eight hundred and sixty-seven young Swiss men filled in a questionnaire on peer pressure, substance use, and other variables (conformity, involvement) in a cohort study.
Results: We identified a four-factor structure, with the three factors of the initial Peer Pressure Inventory (involvement, conformity, misconduct) and adding a new one (relationship with girls). A non-valued scale (from no peer pressure to peer pressure to do only) showed stronger psychometric qualities than a valued scale (from peer pressure not to do to peer pressure to do). Concurrent validity was also good. Each behavior or attitude was significantly associated with peer pressure.
Conclusion: Peer pressure seems to be a multidimensional concept. In this study, peer pressure to do showed the strongest influence on participants. Indeed, peer pressure not to do did not add anything useful. Only peer pressure to do affected young Swiss men's behaviors and attitudes and was reliable.
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