Perceptions of alcohol use by friends compared to peers: Associations with middle adolescents' own use.Subst Abus. 2016 Jul-Sep; 37(3):435-440.SA
In this study, the authors (a) distinguished between adolescents' perceptions of their peers' and friends' alcohol use to examine the unique associations these perceptions have on adolescents' own alcohol use and (b) tested if the ability to resist peer influence moderated those associations.
Data were from the Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development (N = 876, all aged 15). Adolescents reported (a) perceptions of alcohol use by their peers, (b) perceptions of alcohol use by their friends, (c) their own alcohol use in the last year, and (d) a measure of their ability to resist peer influence. Data were analyzed with hierarchical logistic regression (HLR), controlling for demographic variables and parental knowledge.
Three HLR models were computed: 1 for the full sample, 1 for only males, and 1 for only females. In all models, perceptions of alcohol use by friends (odds ratios [ORs]: ORFull = 10.17, ORFemale = 15.51, ORMale = 7.25) were associated with a greater likelihood of adolescents using alcohol themselves. Perceptions of alcohol use by peers (ORFull = 1.13, ORFemale = 1.11, ORMale = 1.14) were not significantly associated with adolescents' own alcohol use. The ability to resist peer influence did not moderate any of those associations.
It appears that when adolescents perceive more of their friends, but not their peers, consume alcohol, they themselves are at greater risk for alcohol use, and those associations do not depend upon their ability to resist peer influence.