Social influences, social norms, social support, and smoking behavior among adolescent workers

Am J Health Promot. Jul-Aug 2001;15(6):414-21. doi: 10.4278/0890-1171-15.6.414.


Purpose: To examine the relationships between worksite interpersonal influences and smoking and quitting behavior among adolescent workers.

Design: The cross-sectional survey assessed factors influencing tobacco use behavior.

Setting: During the fall of 1998, data were collected from 10 grocery stores in Massachusetts that were owned and managed by the same company.

Subjects: Eligible participants included 474 working adolescents ages 15 to 18. Eighty-three percent of workers (n = 379) completed the survey.

Measures: The self-report questionnaire assessed social influences, social norms, social support, friendship networks, stage of smoking and quitting behavior, employment patterns, and demographic factors.

Results: Thirty-five percent of respondents were never smokers, 21% experimental, 5% occasional, 18% regular, and 23% former smokers. Using analysis of variance (ANOVA), results indicate that regular smokers were 30% more likely than experimental or occasional smokers to report coworker encouragement to quit (p = .0002). Compared with regular smokers, never smokers were 15% more likely to report greater nonacceptability of smoking (p = .01). chi 2 tests of association revealed no differences in friendship networks by stage of smoking.

Conclusions: These data provide evidence for the need to further explore social factors inside and outside the work environment that influence smoking and quitting behavior among working teens. Interpretations of the data are limited because of cross-sectional and self-report data collection methods used in one segment of the retail sector.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Male
  • Massachusetts / epidemiology
  • Occupational Health
  • Peer Group*
  • Sex Factors
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Smoking / psychology
  • Smoking Cessation / psychology*
  • Social Support*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Workplace*