The gender structure of adolescent peer influence on drinking

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

59 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The interactions of adolescent peers are the subject of both parental angst and scholarly attention. Peer influence is the most consistent predictor of adolescent drinking patterns when controlling for other background characteristics. This study extends these findings to incorporate a theoretical argument derived from status characteristics theory. Using 2,980 best-friend dyads constructed from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health ("Add Health"), I show that the peer influence process differs by the gender structure of the friendship. Adolescents in same-sex best friendships influence one another mutually, consistent with prior theoretical and empirical approaches to adolescent problem behavior. By contrast, boys in mixed-sex best friendships have influence over their female friends 'drinking patterns, while the girls do not have any effect on their male friends' drinking behavior, a finding consistent with status characteristics theory. The results indicate that peer influence models that do not take gender into account in the structure of the friendship misrepresent the unequal influence dynamics between boys and girls.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)47-61
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Health and Social Behavior
Volume47
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2006
Externally publishedYes

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Drinking
National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health
Drinking Behavior
Adolescent Behavior
Peer Influence
Health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Social Psychology

Cite this

The gender structure of adolescent peer influence on drinking. / Gaughan, Monica.

In: Journal of Health and Social Behavior, Vol. 47, No. 1, 03.2006, p. 47-61.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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