New Dutch research suggests that peer influence is important, particularly if it is positive.
We found that adolescents adapted their willingness to drink substantially to the alcohol norms of their peers. Adolescents were more willing to drink when peers were holding pro-alcohol norms and adolescents were less willing to drink when peers were holding anti-alcohol norms. Adolescents were more influenced by popular than unpopular peers. Interestingly, the anti-alcohol norms of popular peers seemed most influential in that adolescents were less willing to drink when they were confronted with the anti-alcohol norms of popular peers. Additionally, the adolescents internalized these anti-alcohol norms, which means that they were still less willing to drink when the anti-alcohol norms of these peers were no longer presented to them.