CONFORMITY AND RISK BEHAVIOUR AMONG CZECH AND AMERICAN ADOLESCENTS
Palacky University in Olomouc, Faculty of Education (CZECH REPUBLIC)
About this paper:
Conference name: 8th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 4-6 July, 2016
Location: Barcelona, Spain
The topic of this paper is conformity. Conformity is defined as an individual way to adapt to the pressure of the referent group. The common characteristic of the different conceptions of conformity is that to this process precedes a conflict among the inner strengths of the personality who induce the individual to act according to his own opinion and the strengths of the group who force the person to act according to the expectation of the group.
The essence of the research is a transcultural analysis of conformity among two groups of adolescents (American and Czech). The prominent goal of the research was to take a look at the phenomenon of general conformity, peer conformity, peer pressure and popularity as well as finding how risk behaviour is related to the mentioned manifestations of group behaviour.
The partial goal of the research was to find out the inner consistency among the scales of the questionnaire which could contribute deeper psychological grasp of the connections. There was a particular accent on the cultural, age and sex differences among the Czech and American adolescents. The participants were students aged 19-21.
To determine the empirical data we used the following research methods: peer pressure, peer conformity, popularity and general conformity scale by Santor, Messervey and Kusumakar and a scale of risk behaviours of adolescents, which was developed in agreement with the US Youth Risk Behaviour Surveillance System.
According to the statistical analysis we found out that between the Czech and American adolescents there is no significant difference in perceiving the group pressure. Young men from both groups perceive the group pressure more than the girls. The other results showed that the American adolescents have bigger interest to be popular among the peers. For the American adolescent is typically noticeable submission to the adult authorities and their demands. On the other hand, the Czech adolescents incline to peer conformity and risk behaviour while their desire to be popular is lower.
The comparison of the result among the adolescents of a different sex has shown some interesting information. The statistic analysis showed that men perceive the peer pressure more than the girls. The young men are predisposed to the risk activities than the young girls. We understand that as a manifestation of identification of the young men with the adults while they often experiment with situations and activities marked as risk such as alcohol, smoking etc. On the other hand, the girls are more submissive than the men who can explain the presence and the domination of the both phenomenon of conformity. The other analysis assumed search of the essential statistical argumentation of the relations between the peer pressure, popularity, general conformity, and peer conformity and risk behaviour. This group of variables was compared with the age and the sex as independent factors of the social behaviour of the adolescent. The results we obtained showed that the scales are consistent.
Keywords: Conformity, group pressure, popularity, risk behaviour.