Peers can be positive role models

The role modelling of desired behaviours is a highly developed method of education and social learning.1 Peers are able to act as conduits of information as well as of desired behaviours.2-4

In this way peer supporters act as positive role models, which in turn has the ability to create the basis for preferred normative social behaviour, attitudes and beliefs.5 Through their behaviour, peers can be successful as role models for providing positive social cues that are presented in a relevant way.6-9

By exposing young people to positive role models and providing the knowledge and skills needed to avoid risk and problem behaviour, programs contribute to reducing risk or problem behaviours as well as empowering participants to maintain or improve their health and well-being.3,9,10


  1. Bandura, A 1977, Social Learning Theory, Cliffs, New Jearsey.
  2. Backett-Milburn, K & Wilson, S 2000, ‘Understanding peer education: insights from a process evaluation’, Health Education Research, Theory & Practice, vol. 15, no. 1, pp. 85-96.
  3. Burmaster, E 2002, Youth to Youth: A review of peer program theoretical underpinnings, forms, functions, and process- and outcome-related findings 2001-02. A literature review, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.
  4. Svenson, G & Burke, H 2005, Formative Research on Youth Peer Education Program Productivity and Sustainability, Youth Research Working Paper No.3, Family Health International.
  5. McDonald, J, Ashenden, R, Grove, J, Bodein, H, Cormack, S, Allsop, S 2000. Youth for Youth: A Project to Develop Skills and Resources for Peer Education: Final Report, National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction (NCETA), Adelaide.
  6. Goren, N & Wright, K 2006, Peer Education as a drug prevention strategy, in Prevention Research Quarterly: current evidence evaluated, DrugInfo Clearinghouse: West Melbourne, Victoria.
  7. Goren, N 2006, Prevention Research Quarterly: current evidence evaluated-peer education summaries, DrugInfo Clearinghouse, Melbourne.
  8. McDonald, J, Roche, A, Durbridge, M & Skinner, N 2003, Peer Education: From Evidence to Practice: An alcohol and other drugs primer, National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction, Adelaide.
  9. Visser, MJ 2004, Implementig Peer Support in Schools: Using a Theoretical Framework in Action Research. Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology, 14(6): 436-454.
  10. Turner, G & Shepherd, J 1999, ‘A method in search of a theory: peer education and health promotion’, Health Education Research, vol. 14, no. 2, p. 235.