With a Little Help from My Friends? Asymmetrical Social Influence on Adolescent Smoking Initiation and Cessation

Steven A. Haas, David R. Schaefer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

43 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study investigates whether peer influence on smoking among adolescents is asymmetrical. We hypothesize that several features of smoking lead peers to have a stronger effect on smoking initiation than cessation. Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health we estimate a dynamic network model that includes separate effects for increases versus decreases in smoking, while also controlling for endogenous network change. We find that the impact of peer influence is stronger for the initiation of smoking than smoking cessation. Adolescents rarely initiate smoking without peer influence but will cease smoking while their friends continue smoking. We discuss the implications of these results for theories of peer influence and health policy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)126-143
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of health and social behavior
Volume55
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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