Adolescence is a time of significant developmental change. During this period, levels of problem behavior that had been relatively innocuous may escalate in the company of peers, with simultaneous reductions in parental monitoring and involvement. In this article we report the results of a randomized controlled trial of the Family Check-Up (FCU), a family-centered, school-based intervention designed to forestall the escalation of adolescent problem behavior by promoting and motivating skillful parenting through the transition to high school.
In this study, 593 ethnically diverse families were randomized to be offered the FCU when their youth was in seventh and eighth grades of middle school. We used complier average causal effect (CACE) analysis to examine change in family conflict, antisocial behavior, involvement with deviant peers, and alcohol use from sixth through ninth grades.
Analyses revealed that when compared with a matched control group, youths whose parents had engaged in the FCU demonstrated significantly lower rates of growth in family conflict (P = .052), antisocial behavior, involvement with deviant peers, and alcohol use.
Our results extend current research on the FCU and provide support for theory linking family conflict with a variety of youth problem behavior. These results, and the extant research on the FCU, suggest that traditional school-based service delivery models that focus on the individual child may benefit from a shift in perspective to engage parents and families.
family conflict; peer group; adolescent behavior; alcohol consumption; prevention
Previous studies have indicated homophily in internalizing distress among adolescent friends, resulting from both peer selection and socialization processes. However, developmental differences and the role of school transitions in these processes have not been elucidated. A sample of 367 adolescents was followed from 6th to 11th grade to investigate prospective relationships between adolescents' and their friends' depressive symptoms in middle school, during transition to high school, and in high school. Results revealed that students selected friends with similar levels of depressive symptoms after each school transition. Additionally, friends appeared to socialize adolescents to become more similar in depressive affect in late middle school years. These findings suggest normative selection effects following school transitions, followed by socialization effects in middle school, but not high school.
Depression; friendship; peers; internalizing; school transitions
Two competing hypotheses were tested concerning the associations between current alcohol and cigarette use and measures of individual, group and network peer standing in an ethnically-diverse sample of 156 male and female adolescents sampled at two time points in the seventh grade. Findings lent greater support to the person hypothesis, with early regular substance users enjoying elevated standing amongst their peers and maintaining this standing regardless of their maintenance of or desistance from current use later in the school year. In the fall semester, users (n=20, 13%) had greater social impact, were described by their peers as more popular, and were more central to the peer network than abstainers (i.e., those who did not report current use).
Conversely, in the spring semester, there were no differences between users (n=22, 13%) and abstainers in peer ratings of popularity or social impact. Notably, the spring semester users group retained fewer than half of the users from the fall semester. Further, students who had reported current use in the fall, as a group, retained their positions of elevated peer standing in the spring, compared to all other students, and continued to be rated by their peers as more popular and as having greater social impact.
We discuss the findings in terms of the benefit of employing simultaneous systemic and individual measures of peer standing or group prominence, which in the case of peer-based prevention programs, can help clarify the truly influential from the “pretenders” in the case of diffusion of risk-related behaviors.
Early adolescents; Substance use; Peer standing; Social networks
Few pediatric practice-based drug and alcohol surveys have been conducted with adolescent patients. This study reports on similarities and differences in adolescent drug and alcohol use between urban (95% black) pediatric practices and a suburban (89% white) pediatric practice. While there were greater similarities between patient substance use and reported problems than differences, a number of significant differences emerged. White suburban youth were heavier users of tobacco products, alcohol, and inhalants, and experienced more difficulties with blackouts, family conflict, school absence, suicidal ideation, and loss of peer relationships. Other racial/ethnic and practice site differences are discussed. This study highlights characteristics of youth drug abuse in the private pediatric practice setting and implications for the pediatrician in caring for adolescents.
As students transition into middle school they must successfully negotiate a new, larger peer context to attain or maintain high social standing. The goal of this study was to examine the extent to which the maintenance, attainment, and loss of a cool status over the course of the sixth grade is associated with student and classroom levels of physical, verbal, and relational aggression. To address this goal, we studied a sample of 1985 (55% girls) ethnically diverse adolescents from 99 sixth grade classrooms in the United States. Attaining a cool status at any point across the school year was associated with stronger aggressive reputations. Additionally, classroom norms for aggressive behavior moderated the association between changes in aggression over the school year and the stability of coolness such that students who maintained their coolness across the school year showed greater increases in their verbally aggressive reputations from fall to spring when they were in classrooms with higher levels of aggression. The findings illustrate the importance of fitting in with social norms for maintaining a high social status among a new set of peers in middle school.
Coolness; Popularity; Aggression; Middle school
Objective: To extend research on the relation of school based contextual norms to current smoking among adolescents by using three analytic techniques to test for contextual effects. It was hypothesised that significant contextual effects would be found in all three models, but that the strength of these effects would vary by the statistical rigor of the model.
Design: Three separate analytic approaches were conducted on baseline self report student survey data from a larger study to test the relation between school level perceived peer tobacco use and individual current smoking status.
Participants: A representative sample of 5399 sixth through eighth grade students in 14 midwestern middle schools completed the survey. All enrolled sixth through eighth grade students were eligible to participate in the survey. The student participation rate was 91.4% for the entire sample, and did not differ significantly between the schools (range 82–100%).
Main outcome measure: Thirty day cigarette smoking prevalence.
Results: A level 2 only model based on aggregated individual responses indicated that students in schools with higher average reported peer tobacco use were more likely to be current smokers than students in schools with lower average peer tobacco use. Using a level 1 only model based on individual responses indicated that the effect of school level perceived peer tobacco use on current smoking was significant when individual perceived peer tobacco use was excluded from the model but was non-significant when individual perceived peer tobacco use was added to the model. A multilevel model also indicated that the effect of school level perceived peer tobacco use on current smoking was not significant when individual perceived peer tobacco use was added to the model.
Conclusion: The analytic approach used to examine contextual effects using individuals' reports of peer tobacco use norms that were aggregated to obtain a context measure of the school norms may produce statistical artefacts that distort the association of the school context in general, and peer tobacco use norms in particular, with increased risk for current smoking beyond the risk associated with individual factors.
The present study predicts heavy alcohol use across the high school years (age 14 through 18) from cognitions regarding the use of alcohol assessed in middle school. Using Latent Growth Modeling, we examined a structural model using data from 1011 participants in the Oregon Youth Substance Use Project. In this model, social images and descriptive norms regarding alcohol use in grade 7 were related to willingness and intention to drink alcohol in grade 8 and these variables were subsequently related to the intercept and slope of extent of heavy drinking across the high school years (grades 9 through 12). Across the sample, both descriptive norms and social images influenced the intercept of heavy drinking (in the 9th grade) through willingness to drink alcohol. Multiple sample analyses showed that social images also were directly related to the intercept of heavy drinking, for girls only. Results suggest that cognitions regarding alcohol use in middle school predict subsequent heavy drinking in high school. These findings emphasize the need for prevention programs targeting changing students’ social images and encouraging a more accurate perception of peers’ use when students are in middle school.
cognitions; heavy alcohol use; adolescence; predictors
The purpose of this study was to explore how behavioral, intra-personal and socio-environmental factors were associated with the likelihood of having at least one older friend.
Participants included 3709 ethnically-diverse 8th grade students in the Project Northland Chicago intervention trial. Socio-demographic characteristics included gender, family composition, language spoken at home, race/ethnicity, and age. Behavioral factors included cigarette, alcohol, and marijuana use, depressed feelings, willingness to wear alcohol-branded merchandise, and violent and delinquent behavior. Intrapersonal factors included low refusal self efficacy and outcome expectations and expectancies. Socio-environmental factors included alcohol offers and access, normative estimates and expectations, and peer alcohol use. Having an older friend was defined as having at least one friend aged 16 or older (students’ mean age=14.2). Logistic mixed-effects regression models were used and controlled for gender, race/ethnicity, treatment status, and age.
Females and older eighth graders were significantly more likely to have at least one older friend. Students who scored higher on all of the behavioral, intra-personal and socio-environmental risk factors were significantly more likely to have at least one older friend. Significant gender interactions were found for several of the relationships.
Overall this study found multiple risk-related factors are associated with having older friends in eighth grade. Particularly important factors appear to be cigarette, marijuana and alcohol use, having friends who use alcohol, having increased alcohol offers, and being willing to wear or use alcohol-branded merchandise.
Peers; Friends; Risk Behaviors; Risk Factors; Adolescence
This study examined alcohol use development from ages 13–20 years. The sample comprised 256 youth (50.4% female; 51.2% White, 48.8% African American) assessed annually for 6 years. A cohort-sequential latent growth model was used to model categorical alcohol use (non-use vs. use). Covariates included gender, race, income, parent marital status, risk taking, spiritual beliefs, parent alcohol use, family alcohol problems, family cohesion, friends’ alcohol use, and normative peer use. The alcohol use trajectory increased steadily with age. Risk taking, friends’ alcohol use, and normative peer use were positively associated with higher initial rates of alcohol use. Initial parent alcohol use and positive change in parents’ and friends’ alcohol use over time were related to an increase in alcohol use from ages 13–20 years.
Driven by existing socialization theories, this study describes specific friendship contexts in which peer influence of alcohol misuse and depressive symptoms occurs. In the fall and spring of the school year, surveys were administered to 704 Italian adolescents (53 % male, Mage = 15.53) enrolled in Grades 9, 10 and 11. Different friendship contexts were distinguished based on two dimensions referring to the level (i.e., best friendships and friendship networks) and reciprocity (i.e., unilateral and reciprocal) of the relationships. Social network and dyadic analyses were applied in a complementary manner to estimate peer socialization effects across the different friendship contexts. Results showed that within friendship networks both male and female adolescents’ alcohol misuse was affected by friends’ alcohol misuse, regardless of whether the relationship was reciprocated or not. Conversely, peer socialization of depressive symptoms only emerged within very best friendship dyads of female adolescents. Findings suggest that the effects of peer socialization depend on the friendship context and specific types of behaviors. The theoretical and methodological implications of the findings are discussed.
Peer influence; Friendship; Networks; Dyads; Depressive symptoms; Alcohol misuse
Smoking and drinking alcohol among early adolescents are serious public health concerns, but few studies have been conducted in Japan to assess their prevalence and etiology. A regional survey was conducted in eight schools in two Japanese school districts to identify psychosocial factors associated with smoking and drinking behaviors for boys and girls.
Junior high school students from seventh to ninth grades (N = 2,923) completed a self-reported questionnaire between December 2002 and March 2003. Relationships between psychosocial variables (i.e., self-assertive efficacy to resist peer pressure, parental involvement, school adjustment, and deviant peer influence) and smoking and drinking were investigated using logistic regression analyses and path analyses.
Smoking in the last six months was significantly more prevalent in boys (7.9%) than girls (5.1%). The prevalence of drinking in the last six months was similar in boys (23.7%) and girls (21.8%). Self-efficacy to resist peer pressure was negatively associated with both smoking and drinking among both boys and girls and provided both direct and indirect effects through deviant peer influence. Parental involvement showed indirect effects through school adjustment and/or deviant peer influence to both smoking among both boys and girls and drinking among girls, although parental involvement showed direct effects on smoking only for boys. School adjustment was negatively associated with smoking among both boys and girls and drinking among girls.
These findings suggest that self-assertive efficacy to resist peer pressure, parental involvement, school adjustment and deviant peer influence are potentially important factors that could be addressed by programs to prevent smoking and/or drinking among early adolescent boys and girls in Japan.
The goal of this research is to examine the trajectory of school bonding over the middle school period and how factors such as gender, substance use, antisocial peers, delinquent behavior, and academic achievement affect this developmental process. Data from 4 waves of measurement of 2,902 adolescents are analyzed using hierarchical growth curve modeling. Results suggest that school bonding decreases in a non-linear fashion from Grade 6–8. However, school bonding development varies based on inter-individual differences. Boys have lower initial levels and greater decreases in school bonding than girls. Student deviant behavior, having antisocial peers, and low academic achievement are associated with lower levels of school bonding at Grade 6. Low grades and an increase in substance use are associated with a steeper decrease of school bonding over time. Increases in substance use and being male are also associated with a curvilinear pattern of school bonding. Implications for interventions are discussed.
School Bonding; Developmental Trajectory; Early Adolescence; Problem Behavior; Academic Achievement
The present study is a secondary analysis of a randomized trial of brief motivational interventions (BMIs) for 198 college students sanctioned for alcohol-related violations of school policy (Carey, Henson, Carey, & Maisto, 2009). Using multivariate latent growth curve models, we evaluated theoretically-derived mediators of the observed BMI effect: motivation to change (readiness-to-change, costs and benefits of drinking), and drinking norms (injunctive norms for peers, and descriptive norms for friends, local peers, and national peers). Results provided partial support for mediation by changes in perceptions of descriptive but not injunctive norms, a pattern that varied by gender and norm type. We found no evidence of a mediating role for any of the motivational variables.
Early adolescent alcohol use is a major public health problem. Drinking before the 14th birthday is associated with a fourfold increase in risk of alcohol dependence in adulthood. The objective of this study is to evaluate the association between adolescent social network characteristics and alcohol initiation prospectively over time.
The study analyzes data from Add Health, a nationally representative survey of seventh through eleventh grade students enrolled between 1995 and 1996. Generalized estimating equations are used to model the risk of alcohol use initiation at one-year follow-up among non-drinkers at Wave 1 of the study.
Both an adolescent’s friends’ alcohol use and the adolescent’s social network characteristics displayed an independent main effect on alcohol initiation. In comparison to abstainers, alcohol initiators had more popular friends, as measured by more peer nominations as friends (in-degree) and having more friends up to three steps removed (three-step reach), and more friends who drank. An adolescent’s risk of alcohol use onset increased 13% (95% CI: 4%–22%) for every additional friend with high in-degree, 3% (95% CI: 0.3%–6%) for every additional 10 friends within three-step reach, and 34% (95% CI: 14%–58%) for each additional friend who drank alcohol, and after controlling for confounders.
The findings suggest that, in addition to well established demographic risk factors, adolescents are at heightened risk of alcohol use onset because of their position in the social network in relation to their friends and the friends of their friends.
Peer social networks impact adolescent alcohol use onset. Alcohol initiators have more friends and friends of friends who drink, are in closer proximity to more popular individuals, and interact with more friends and more friends of friends than abstainers.
The co-use of alcohol and tobacco by adolescents is a public health problem that continues well into adulthood and results in negative behavioral, social, and health consequences. The purpose of this study was to examine the co-use of alcohol and tobacco among ninth-graders in south-central Louisiana.
We created a health habits survey to collect data from 4,750 ninth-grade students, mean age 15.4 years. Cross-sectional analysis used χ
2, 1-way analysis of variance, and logistic regression methods.
Almost 20% of students were co-users. Students who were white, performed poorly in school, did not expect to graduate high school, and had more discretionary money to spend were more likely to be co-users. Co-users had friends who got drunk weekly and were more likely to approve of alcohol use among friends than among adults. Significant differences in attitudes toward drinking and smoking were observed between co-users and nonusers. For adolescent drinkers, including girls, hard liquor was the preferred beverage.
These data for high school students are applicable for prevention strategies at a critical age when harmful health behaviors can mark the start of lifelong habits. Intervention efforts will be successful only if they account for multiple levels of influence.
This study examines how strength of ethnic identity, multiethnic identity, and other indicators of biculturalism relate to the drug use norms of urban American Indian middle school students. The article distinguishes categories of norms that may affect drug use. Regression analysis of self-reports by 434 American Indian seventh graders attending middle schools in a large southwestern U.S. city indicated that students who had a more intense sense of ethnic pride adhered more strongly to certain antidrug norms than those who did not. Whereas American Indian students with better grades in school held consistently stronger antidrug norms, there were few differences by gender, socioeconomic status, or age. These results have implications in social work practice for better understanding and strengthening the protective aspects of American Indian culture in drug prevention efforts.
adolescents; American Indians; biculturalism; drug use
To determine if people who were diagnosed with alcohol abuse or dependence (AAD) at age 21 had different developmental patterns of alcohol use in adolescence than non-AAD individuals.
An ethnically diverse urban sample of 808 children was surveyed at age 10 in 1985 and followed prospectively to age 21 in 1996. AAD at age 21 was assessed following USM-IV criteria. Latent Transition Analysis (LTA) was used to identify four statuses of alcohol use (nonuse, initiation only, current use only, heavy episodic drinking), as well as transition probabilities between these four statuses from elementary school to middle school and from middle school to high school among the AAD and non-AAD group.
The prevalence of alcohol use statuses during elementary school was similar in the two groups. Differences in alcohol use emerged in middle school and became more pronounced in high school. In middle school, AAD individuals were more likely to have initiated or been current drinkers than non-AAD individuals. However, the two groups did not differ in the prevalence of heavy episodic drinking in middle school. In high school, most AAD individuals were in the heavy episodic drinking status (54%), while most non-AAD individuals were in the initiation only (33%) or current use only (34%) statuses.
These findings suggest preventive intervention targets for different developmental periods. Alcohol abuse and dependence at age 21 may be prevented by delaying alcohol initiation, by reducing current use in middle school and by reducing heavy episodic drinking in high school.
Strategies to enforce underage drinking laws are aimed at reducing youth access to alcohol from commercial and social sources and deterring its possession and use. However, little is known about the processes through which enforcement strategies may affect underage drinking. The purpose of the current study is to present and test a conceptual model that specifies possible direct and indirect relationships among adolescents’ perception of community alcohol norms, enforcement of underage drinking laws, personal beliefs (perceived parental disapproval of alcohol use, perceived alcohol availability, perceived drinking by peers, perceived harm and personal disapproval of alcohol use), and their past-30-day alcohol use. This study used data from 17,830 middle and high school students who participated in the 2007 Oregon Health Teens Survey. Structural equations modeling indicated that perceived community disapproval of adolescents’ alcohol use was directly and positively related to perceived local police enforcement of underage drinking laws. In addition, adolescents’ personal beliefs appeared to mediate the relationship between perceived enforcement of underage drinking laws and past-30-day alcohol use. Enforcement of underage drinking laws appeared to partially mediate the relationship between perceived community disapproval and personal beliefs related to alcohol use. Results of this study suggests that environmental prevention efforts to reduce underage drinking should target adults’ attitudes and community norms about underage drinking as well as the beliefs of youth themselves.
Underage drinking; Community norms; Enforcement of minimum legal drinking age laws; Personal beliefs; Prevention
To investigate the psychological processes that underlie the relation between exposure to alcohol use in media with adolescent alcohol use.
Structural equation modeling analysis of data from four waves of a longitudinal, nationally-representative, random-digit dial telephone survey of adolescents in the United States.
Main Outcome Measures
Adolescent alcohol consumption and willingness to use alcohol. Tested mediators were alcohol-related norms, prototypes, expectancies, and friends' use.
Alcohol prototypes, expectancies, willingness, and friends' use of alcohol (but not perceived prevalence of alcohol use among peers) were significant mediators of the relation between movie alcohol exposure and alcohol consumption, even after controlling for demographic, child, and family factors associated with both movie exposure and alcohol consumption.
Established psychological and interpersonal predictors of alcohol use mediate the effects of exposure to alcohol use in movies on adolescent alcohol consumption. The findings suggest that exposure movie portrayals may operate through similar processes as other social influences, highlighting the importance of considering these exposures in research on adolescent risk behavior.
alcohol drinking patterns; social influences; alcohol attitudes; adolescent development; films
The transition into middle school may be a risky period in early adolescence. In particular, friendships, peer status, and parental monitoring during this developmental period can influence the development of problem behavior. This study examined interrelationships among peer and parenting factors that predict changes in problem behavior over the middle school years. A longitudinal sample (580 boys, 698 girls) was assessed in Grades 6 and 8. Peer acceptance, peer rejection, and their interaction predicted increases in problem behavior. Having high-achieving friends predicted less problem behavior. Parental monitoring predicted less problem behavior in general, but also acted as a buffer for students who were most vulnerable to developing problem behavior on the basis of being well liked by some peers, and also disliked by several others. These findings highlight the importance of studying the family–peer mesosystem when considering risk and resilience in early adolescence, and when considering implications for intervention.
Behavior problems; Social acceptance; Friendship; Parenting; Protective factors
Although bullying is recognized as a serious problem in the U.S., little is known about racial/ethnic differences in bullying risk. This study examined associations between bullying and family, peer, and school relations for White, Black and Hispanic adolescents.
A nationally-representative sample (n=11,033) of adolescents in grades six to ten participated in the 2001 Health Behaviors in School-Aged Children survey, self-reporting bullying involvement and information on family, peer and school relations. Descriptive statistics and multinomial logistic regression analyses controlling for gender, age and affluence were stratified by race/ethnicity.
Nine percent of respondents were victims of bullying, 9% were bullies, and 3% were bully-victims. Black adolescents reported a significantly lower prevalence of victimization than White and Hispanic students. Multivariate results indicated modest racial/ethnic variation in associations between bullying and family, peer and school factors. Parental communication, social isolation, and classmate relationships were similarly related to bullying across racial/ethnic groups. Living with two biological parents was protective against bullying involvement for White students only. Further, although school satisfaction and performance were negatively associated with bullying involvement for White and Hispanic students, school factors were largely unrelated to bullying among Black students.
Although school attachment and performance were inconsistently related to bullying behavior across race/ethnicity, bullying behaviors are consistently related to peer relationships across Black, White and Hispanic adolescents. Negative associations between family communication and bullying behaviors for White, Black and Hispanic adolescents suggest the importance of addressing family interactions in future bullying prevention efforts.
Research on adolescent development suggests that peer influence may play a key role in explaining adolescents’ willingness to drink, an important predictor of drinking initiation. However, experiments that thoroughly examine these peer influence effects are scarce. This study experimentally examined whether adolescents adapted their willingness to drink when confronted with the pro-alcohol and anti-alcohol norms of peers in a chat room session and whether these effects were moderated by the social status of peers.
We collected survey data on drinking behavior, social status, and willingness to drink among five hundred thirty-two 14- to 15-year-olds. Of this sample, 74 boys participated in a simulated Internet chat room session in which participants were confronted with preprogrammed pro-alcohol or anti-alcohol norms of “grade-mates” which were in fact preprogrammed e-confederates. Accordingly, we tested whether participants adapted their willingness to drink to the norms of these grade-mates. To test whether adaptations in participants’ willingness to drink would depend on grade-mates’ social status, we manipulated their level of popularity.
The results indicated that adolescents adapted their willingness to drink substantially to the pro-alcohol (i.e., more willing to drink) as well as anti-alcohol (i.e., less willing to drink) norms of these peers. Adolescents were more influenced by high-status than low-status peers. Interestingly, the anti-alcohol norms of the 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.
This study gives more insight into peer influence processes that encourage or discourage alcohol use. These results could be fundamental for the development of prevention and intervention programs to reduce alcohol use among the adolescents.
Peer Influence; Drinking Norms; Adolescents; Popularity
Prior research has reported racial/ethnic differences in the early initiation of alcohol use, suggesting that cultural values that are central to specific racial/ethnic groups may be influencing these differences. This one-year longitudinal study examines associations between two types of cultural values, parental respect (honor for one's parents) and familism (connectedness with family), both measured at baseline, and subsequent alcohol initiation in a sample of 6,054 (49% male; 18% non-Hispanic White, 4% non-Hispanic Black, 57% Hispanic, and 22% Asian) middle school students in Southern California. We tested whether the associations of cultural values with alcohol initiation could be explained by baseline measures of alcohol resistance self-efficacy (RSE) and alcohol expectancies. We also explored whether these pathways differed by race/ethnicity. In the full sample, adolescents with higher parental respect were less likely to initiate alcohol use, an association that was partially explained by higher RSE and fewer positive alcohol expectancies. Familism was not significantly related to alcohol initiation. Comparing racial/ethnic groups, higher parental respect was protective against alcohol initiation for Whites and Asians, but not Blacks or Hispanics. There were no racial/ethnic differences in the association between familism and alcohol initiation. Results suggest that cultural values are important factors in the decision to use alcohol and these values appear to operate in part, by influencing alcohol positive expectancies and RSE. Interventions that focus on maintaining strong cultural values and building strong bonds between adolescents and their families may help reduce the risk of alcohol initiation.
Adolescents; cultural values; expectancies; alcohol initiation; resistance self-efficacy
A longitudinal, prospective design was used to examine the roles of peer rejection in middle childhood and antisocial peer involvement in early adolescence in the development of adolescent externalizing behavior problems. Both early starter and late starter pathways were considered. Classroom sociometric interviews from ages 6 through 9 years, adolescent reports of peers' behavior at age 13 years, and parent, teacher, and adolescent self-reports of externalizing behavior problems from age 5 through 14 years were available for 400 adolescents. Results indicate that experiencing peer rejection in elementary school and greater involvement with antisocial peers in early adolescence are correlated but that these peer relationship experiences may represent two different pathways to adolescent externalizing behavior problems. Peer rejection experiences, but not involvement with antisocial peers, predict later externalizing behavior problems when controlling for stability in externalizing behavior. Externalizing problems were most common when rejection was experienced repeatedly. Early externalizing problems did not appear to moderate the relation between peer rejection and later problem behavior. Discussion highlights multiple pathways connecting externalizing behavior problems from early childhood through adolescence with peer relationship experiences in middle childhood and early adolescence.
Although peer norms have been found to be a particularly strong correlate of alcohol consumption by college students, research suggests that parents also have a significant impact on the behaviors of their children, even after their child has departed for college. The current study investigated the effect of disparity between the perceived approval of alcohol (injunctive norms) of parents and closest friends on college student drinking and consequences, and explored gender differences in this effect. It found that injunctive disparity was significantly correlated with individual drinking and related consequences over and above the strongest known predictor variables of gender, same-sex descriptive norms and drinks per week. Males experienced significantly greater disparity between the beliefs of their parents and their peers, which was related increased drinking and a greater sense of connection to their same-sex peer group. Among females, greater perceived disparity was associated with greater alcohol-related consequences. These results suggest that it may not be the individual attitudes of parents and peers, but rather the difference between them, that is impacting behavior. Interventions that reduce perceived disparity, either by correcting the over-estimation of peer’s drinking, or by encouraging parents to stay involved in their children’s social lives by promoting socialization with peers whose attitudes more closely match their own, may be beneficial in reducing risky college drinking.
alcohol; peers; parents; injunctive norms; college students; gender