Digital peer interactions affect risk taking in young adults

R. Ross Maclean, Charles F. Geier, Shannon L. Henry, Stephen J. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Digital interactions are an increasingly common communication method among young adults, but little is known about whether such remote exchanges influence riskiness. The current study examined whether observing and interacting with, versus simply observing, a digital peer affect risk taking in young adults aged 18-25. Participants who remotely viewed risky behavior by a peer or computer increased risk taking; however, compared to a control condition, only exposure to risk-encouraging messages from a digital peer resulted in sustained risk-taking behavior. These findings suggest that short text-based messages from a risk-encouraging digital peer can influence risk-taking behavior in young adults. Given the rapid proliferation of digital communication among this age group, these results highlight a potentially important source of peer influence on risky behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)772-780
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Research on Adolescence
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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