Addiction & Criminology

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Commentary - Addiction & Criminology (2023) Volume 6, Issue 3

The impact of peer influence on criminal behaviour.

Andrea Raine*

Department of Crime, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama United States

*Corresponding Author:
Andrea Raine
Department of Crime, University of Alabama, United States

Received: 30-May -2023, Manuscript No. AARA-23-103251; Editor assigned: 01-June-2023, PreQC No. AARA-23-103251 (PQ); Reviewed:15-June-2023, QC No. AARA-23-103251; Revised:20-June-2023, Manuscript No. AARA-23-103251 (R); Published:27-June-2023, DOI:10.35841/aara-6.3.151

Citation: Raine A. The impact of peer influence on criminal behaviour. Addict Criminol. 2023;6(3):151

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Criminal behavior is a complex phenomenon influenced by a multitude of factors. Among these factors, peer influence has gained considerable attention for its significant impact on individuals' engagement in illegal activities. This article examines the existing literature and empirical studies to provide insights into the mechanisms and effects of peer influence on criminal behavior [1].

During adolescence and early adulthood, peer groups play a pivotal role in shaping an individual's attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors. Peers serve as sources of social support, companionship, and acceptance, creating an environment where conformity to group norms becomes crucial [2].

One mechanism through which peer influence affects criminal behavior is social learning. Individuals learn criminal techniques, values, and rationalizations through observation and interaction with their peers. This process involves imitating behaviors that are rewarded or positively reinforced within the peer group. For example, if a group of friends praises and admires individuals who engage in criminal activities, others may be motivated to follow suit to gain social approval and recognition [3].

Peer influence can also lead to the formation of deviant subcultures, where criminal behavior is normalized and perpetuated. Within these subcultures, shared norms, values, and identities develop, reinforcing criminal behavior as a way of life. The impact of peer influence on criminal behavior is influenced by various factors, including the intensity and duration of exposure to deviant peers. Research suggests that the closer the proximity and the greater the similarity to deviant peers, the stronger the influence [4].

Understanding the impact of peer influence on criminal behavior has important implications for prevention and intervention strategies. By recognizing the role of peers in criminal activity, interventions can target social networks and implement programs aimed at disrupting negative influences and fostering positive social connections. Providing alternative opportunities, such as mentorship programs or involvement in prosocial activities, can redirect individuals susceptible to peer pressure towards constructive behavior [5].


The influence of peers on criminal behavior is a complex and multifaceted phenomenon. Through social learning, reinforcement, and the formation of deviant subcultures, peers shape individuals' attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors. The intensity and duration of peer influence, as well as moderating and mediating factors, further determine the extent to which individuals engage in criminal activities. Recognizing the significance of peer influence has implications for designing effective prevention and intervention strategies to mitigate the impact of peer pressure and reduce criminal behaviour.


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