Sex Differences in Peer Selection and Socialization for Alcohol Use from Adolescence to Young Adulthood and the Influence of Marital and Parental Status.Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2018 12; 42(12):2394-2402.AC
Peer selection and socialization influences for alcohol and other substance use have been a prominent area of research especially, though not exclusively, across adolescence. This study used 4-wave prospective data from 1,004 young adults to evaluate selection and socialization influences for young adults' alcohol use and friends' alcohol use from late adolescence to later young adulthood, and incorporated the time-varying predictors of marital and parental status. In addition, sex differences in peer selection and socialization processes were tested.
Participants were recruited from high schools, and assessments were based on self-reports initially collected in adolescence (at age 17.0 years) via paper-and-pencil surveys and in young adulthood at ages 23.8, 28.9, and 33.5 years via computer-based individual interviews (computer-assisted personal interview and audio computer-assisted self-interviewing). Initial sampling included a 76% participation rate, and the retention rate was 83%. Cross-lagged panel regression models were used to evaluate hypotheses about peer selection and socialization.
Findings indicated that friend selection processes were stronger than socialization processes across adolescence to young adulthood. Adopting marital and (especially) parental roles was negatively associated with young adults' alcohol use and percentage of friends using alcohol, and the magnitude of these relationships was stronger and more consistent for females.
These findings indicated that across the adolescence-to-young adulthood transition, peer selection processes were more influential than peer socialization. Marital and parental roles were associated with both lower young adult alcohol use and a lower percentage of friends using alcohol, with stronger role-related effects for females relative to males.