IMPACT OF PEER INFLUENCE TOWARDS ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION AMONG YOUTH IN INI LOCAL GOVERNMENT OF AKWA IBOM STATE
When children move out from the family to child care centres, school, and the community at large, they begin to form attachments, and friendships emerge through their play. Even infants and toddlers are observed reacting to other in young people in their adolescence join different peer groups and identify themselves with these groups by participating in their activities in order not to be rejected. A peer group is a source of great influence during the time of adolescence (Chauhan, 2007). In a contemporary society, peer groups have become an increasingly important context in which adolescents spend time. Modernization has led more and more to age segregation-in schools, work place, and in the community. How much time one spends with friends will play a great part in the development of the adolescent into the mature adult (Barbour, Barbour & Scully 2002). As children grow older from the age of 12 years onwards, the importance of parents decreases as a reference group and as a model for conformity and they begin to relate more with their age mates. Although parental influence is important for some young people than for others, peer influence is a more dominant factor for many teenagers (Carter & McGoldrick, 2005).Peer groups are an important influence throughout one‟s life, but they are more critical during their developmental years of adolescence. There is often a controversy about the influence of a peer group versus parental influence, particularly during adolescence. The power of the peer group becomes more important when the family relationships are not close or supportive.