Friendship context matters: examining the domain specificity of alcohol and depression socialization among adolescents.J Abnorm Child Psychol. 2012 Oct; 40(7):1027-43.JA
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, M (age) = 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.