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Social Context of Smoking in Adolescence and Young Adulthood

Institution: RAND Corporation
Investigator(s): Joan Tucker, Ph.D.
Award Cycle: 2007 (Cycle 16) Grant #: 16RT-0169 Award: $791,718
Subject Area: Epidemiology
Award Type: Research Project Awards
Abstracts

Initial Award Abstract
Youth substance use is influenced by a complex array of interrelated risk factors. In the case of smoking, researchers have focused on such diverse factors as social influences, school and community contexts, tobacco regulations and pricing, intrapersonal characteristics, and delinquency. Among these factors, one type has received disproportionate attention: friendship and other peer relationships. Numerous studies have found that exposure to pro-smoking peer behaviors and attitudes is associated with youth smoking initiation and escalation during adolescence and emerging adulthood. However, despite the considerable number of studies on peer relationships and smoking, much remains to be learned about the factors contributing to peer similarities in smoking, the diversity of peer influences relevant to smoking, and the conditions under which youth are susceptible versus resilient to smoking-related peer influences. Further, methodological limitations preclude drawing strong conclusions from most of these studies about the role of peer relationships as a contributing factor to youth smoking. Thus, the most fundamental question underlying research on peers and smoking has not been fully investigated: to what extent do friendship networks actually influence adolescent smoking behavior?

Using longitudinal friendship network data from the National Survey of Adolescent Health (Add Health), this project will address the following specific aims: 1) To determine the extent to which friendship networks influence smoking (influence effects) and smoking influences friendship selection (selection effects), and whether these associations differ across key demographic groups; 2) To investigate how different levels of peer influence are concurrently and prospectively associated with youth smoking behavior, and to explore whether these associations are moderated by key network structure characteristics; and 3) To identify adolescents who are more resilient versus vulnerable to different levels of pro-smoking peer influences, focusing on characteristics from four domains: personal factors; school factors; family factors; and neighborhood factors.
Publications

Friendship networks and trajectories of adolescent tobacco use.
Periodical: Addictive Behaviors Index Medicus:
Authors: Pollard, MS; Tucker, JS; Green, HD Jr; Kennedy, DH; Go, MH ART
Yr: 2010 Vol: 35 Nbr: Abs: Pg: 678-685

Peer influence and selection effects on adolescent smoking.
Periodical: Drug and Alcohol Dependence Index Medicus:
Authors: Go, MH; Green, HD Jr; Kennedy, DP; Pollard, M; Tucker, JS ART
Yr: 2010 Vol: 109 Nbr: Abs: Pg: 239-242