A group is a combination of more than one individual sharing some values, beliefs, or a set of behaviors. Many individuals together sharing a common goal or need is a group of people. People in a group sharing these common things tend to have interdependent behaviors. Each of the members of a group influences the behavior of another. Individuals will tend to react to situations or have specific behaviors in specific situations guided by a reference group view to those situations. Groups of people that influence their selves are members of the same religion, roommates, school friends, workmates, etc. Groups influence their selves in two ways. A group may influence the identity through conformity or obedience. Group influence has many effects on their selves. Some of them are positive while others are negative and damaging to the personality. The aim of this paper is to evaluate group influence and its effects on the individual. The observation was done at Inland Behavior Health Center, which is an outpatient rehabilitation center in San Bernardino. The physical arrangement or layout of the room and setting was as follows: chairs were arranged in a circle setting and the instructor was in the center of the group. The instructor used brochures and a standing trifold poster. The composition of the group on terms of ages, sex, and ethnicity, this particular class was is given to pregnant women only, ages varying from 19 through 35, ethnicity groups being: 40% Caucasian, 40% Hispanic, and 20 % African American. The purpose, mission, and goal of this class is to learn about the tobacco health effects on the pregnant women and unborn baby, the mission is to be self-reliant and not to depend on tobacco during when stress is experienced. The goals are to teach them to about all the health effects that can happen due to smoking, to prevent premature birth and low birth weight. The duration of the class duration is ninety minutes. Each participant needs to attend eight consecutive weeks and be smoking free for eight consecutive weeks; otherwise, the class has no end date.
If any participant relapses during program, they are sent back to week one starting with no incentives. The discussion structure of this class is that the instructor follows a curriculum based on a weekly topic that includes, videos, provides handouts, and group discussion. A quiz was given at the end of session to test comprehension. The class structure and organization is difference, since the class is given at an outpatient rehabilitation center, the participants were in a class when the instructor arrived at 10:45 am. The instructor pulled all the pregnant women from the classroom. Some of the pregnant women were already in the Comprehensive Tobacco Treatment program (CTT), which the instructor was aware of it. The other pregnant women, who were not part of the CTT program, were substance abused screened and those who screened positive for tobacco were enrolled in program. At the beginning of the class, a signing sheet was passed to all attended participants. The instructor has a folder that included a “communication form” in where she keeps track of each participant’s cessation status. In a group discussion, she begins by asking if anyone would like to share an anecdote to tell about her past week smoking cessation experience. At this time, two participants mentioned how difficult they found that week to stay without smoking and one stated that knowing that if they smoke one cigarette it would equal thirteen packs to the baby. The second participant mentioned that knowing that she had to provide a urine test kept her away from smoking. After the discussion was done, the instructor transitioned by introducing the topic of the week. The topic of this particular week was on “Secondhand Smoke.” During session, a handout was passed out to all attendees including myself and a video was shown titled “The Perils of Secondhand Smoke.” A quiz was given at the end. All attendees were tested through a urine test to make sure they were nicotine free and those who achieved session, were rewarded with infant diapers and xylitol gum as an incentive. After nicotine test was done, the session concluded. The primary facilitator of this class was only one female instructor, who was the program coordinator. She has her bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies and currently enrolled in a Human Resource Management program. The program has two instructors who travel to various sites through San Bernardino County. The subject or issues did the group
members examine during the meeting was primarily smoking during pregnancy.
Other topics may include parenting and baby bonding education. The different information that the members exchanged in this class was the difficulties facing through the cessation process that evolves through stress, financial issues, emotional experiences, and lack of support. The group’s norms, roles, status hierarchy, or communication patterns were that the participants are low income, low level of education (less than high school diploma), and normally come from a substance abuse setting. The communication patterns illustrated if this class was that participants were involved as a group and they were very open for discussion and sharing their experiences. The participants’ members share a sense of identity with one another and the participants shared the same interest of trying to stay tobacco free, provide a health living environment for their unborn baby and other children living with them. In this class or group there was not any indication that members might be vulnerable to groupthink, because at the beginning of the session, the instructor ask for each individual struggles through the cessation process and they all had their unique storytelling. Although some responses were similar, they did not seem influenced by their partner’s response. In my opinion, the group has a positive influence in each other’s behaviors because the participants share the same background and they all seemed to understand each other by giving praises for their successes and advices on how to deal with the cravings and withdrawals of tobacco. Unfortunately, due to the background of the participants, they were influenced by their living surroundings and the only thing they knew is to reach for drugs, alcohol, and tobacco. In this class, the participants learn the tools necessary to cope with stress factors rather than reaching out for a cigarette as a coping tool. A group influences their selves in many ways. While communicating and sharing some definite norms, people from the same group tend to behave in the same way. The group influences their selves through either obedience or conformity. This influence has many effects that are both positive and negative but mostly negative.
Myers, D. G. (2010). Social Psychology (10th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill.