Peer Pressure

Goal 3: Good Health and Well-Being


The purpose of the activity is to educate students upon peer pressure regarding alcohol/substance abuse and show students how easily they fall into peer pressure without even knowing it. This activity shows them a different type of peer pressure that they don’t always see, non-verbal peer pressure.


stopwatchOne 45 minute lesson

circular-line-with-word-age-in-the-center13 – 21 years old

group-of-three-men-standing-side-by-side-hugging-each-otherGroups of any size


Behavioural competences

  • To have a safe and healthy relationship with the surroundings
  • To have a healthy attitude towards alcohol and drugs


  • To reflect upon one’s built environments and surrounding and the impact of these on health and wellbeing
  • To reflect upon the global consequences/impact of irresponsible drug and alcohol consumption

Lifelong learning key competences

Social and civic competences


Have all of the students sitting in their desks like normal. Ask one student to go and get you something “for an activity”. Don’t just send them outside to wait because they will know something is up, or different. Once the student has left the room, tell the rest of the students to sit on top of their desk. Once they are all on top of their desk, inform them that they are participating in a peer pressure activity and the individual that just left is the subject. If the individual returns and sits on top of their desk they fell into non-verbal peer pressure and if they sit in their chair they resisted peer pressure.


  • Go about class like it is normal (taking attendance or giving a short explanation of something)
  • Don’t pay particular attention to the individual when they walk into the room
  • If the individual asks any questions just shrug your shoulders

Once the individual is back, monitor what they do. Once the individual has chosen the chair or their desk to sit on, it is discussion time.
Questions to ask the individual if they sat on their desk

  • Why did you sit on your desk? (The usual answer is because everyone else is)
  • Do you always do what everyone else does?

Questions to ask the individual if they sat in their chair

  • Why did you sit in your chair when everyone else is sitting on their desk?
  • Why wouldn’t you do what everyone else is doing?

Congratulate the individual if they chose the chair, and let them know that they didn’t fall into peer pressure. At this time, let them know that they were the subject to the activity.

Choose your one individual wisely, someone who won’t be easily embarrassed or wander the halls. You will need to give your directions timely, because you only have a short time while the individual is away. You will need the student gone for at least 30 seconds to 1 minute to give directions, pick a distance that isn’t too far or too short for the one individual to go to.


Questions to ask the whole class:

  • Raise your hand if you would have sat on the desk? Why?
  • Raise your hand if you would have sat in your chair? Why?

Inform the class that the usual peer pressure that they think about is someone pressuring them to do something wrong or against their values. However, peer pressure can also be more indirect, e.g. when people do something that they would not have done otherwise because others are doing it and they do not want to be “outside” the group.

  • Based on the activity how would you define peer pressure?
  • Can you give real life examples of peer pressure?
  • Why is it effective?
  • Why is it dangerous?
  • Is it difficult to say ‘no’ to your peers? Why/why not?
  • How do you deal with peer pressure? Talk to your friends/parents/teachers?

Discuss peer pressure in relation to alcohol and drugs.

Follow up suggestions

Have the students write individual essays upon what they personally believe about peer pressure.

Ideas for actions

If your class already have class rules on how to behave and treat each other then go though them and see if there is anything that should be added. If your class does not have any rules then you can develop a set of rules and hang them up in the classroom.

Further information

The Sustainable Development Goal 3 (Good Health & Well-Being) targets:

Materials on drugs and drug abuse from National Institute on Drug Abuse:

“Respect others. Respect Yourself” method:

“The Science of Decision Making and Peer Pressure” method: