Purpose Little research has examined the extent to which adolescents directly attempt to influence friends' smoking. This study examines adolescents' reported actions to promote or deter friends' smoking, and whether actions vary by adolescents' smoking experience. Methods Data were collected between 2001 and 2004 at four time points across the 9th and 10th grades from an ethnically diverse school-based sample (N = 395; 53% female). Results Deterrence of smoking was reported by a greater percentage of adolescents than was promotion of smoking, both among those who had ever smoked and never smoked. By the end of the study, over 45% of ever smokers and less than 5% of never smokers had promoted smoking among friends. In contrast, over 70% of ever smokers and roughly 40% of never smokers had deterred smoking. Among adolescents who had ever smoked, positive consequences of smoking by fall of 10th grade predicted attempts to promote smoking by the end of 10th grade (OR = 4.37, p <.05). To a lesser extent, negative consequences of smoking predicted attempts to deter smoking (OR = 2.60, p <.08). These effects were independent of the opposite type of smoking consequences, level of personal smoking experience, having close friends who smoked, prior attempts to influence friends' behavior, and smoker's gender. Conclusions Models of peer influence should account for both positive and negative influence of adolescents on friends' health behavior. Adolescents who have engaged in risk-taking and experienced negative consequences may be a resource in designing and delivering interventions; future research should evaluate their ability to change friends' behavior.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Data collection was supported by grants awarded to Dr. Halpern-Felsher from the Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program , Office of the President, University of California ( #9K-0072 ), the UCSF Academic Senate Committee on Research , and the Raschen-Tiedenann Fund from the Research Evaluation and Allocation Committee , School of Medicine, UCSF. We gratefully acknowledge the contributions of Rhonda Y. Kropp, B.S.N., M.P.H., and Jodi L. Cornell, M.A., M.S.W. We are also grateful to the study participants, their parents, and the school teachers and administrators who contributed to the study.
- Peer influence
- Peer pressure