Background: Peer pressure (PP) has been shown to play a major role in the development and continuation of alcohol use and misuse. To date, almost all the studies investigating the association of PP with alcohol use only considered the PP for misconduct but largely ignored other aspects of PP, such as pressure for peer involvement and peer conformity. Moreover, it is not clear whether the association of PP with alcohol use is direct or mediated by other factors. The aim of the present study was to investigate the association of different aspects of peer pressure (PP) with drinking volume (DV) and risky single-occasion drinking (RSOD), and to explore whether these associations were mediated by drinking motives (DM).
Methods: A representative sample of 5521 young Swiss men, aged around 20 years old, completed a questionnaire assessing their usual weekly DV, the frequency of RSOD, DM (i.e. enhancement, social, coping, and conformity motives), and 3 aspects of PP (i.e. misconduct, peer involvement, and peer conformity). Associations between PP and alcohol outcomes (DV and RSOD) as well as the mediation of DM were tested using structural equation models.
Results: Peer pressure to misconduct was associated with more alcohol use, whereas peer involvement and peer conformity were associated with less alcohol use. Associations of drinking outcomes with PP to misconduct and peer involvement were partially mediated by enhancement and coping motives, while the association with peer conformity was partially mediated by enhancement and conformity motives.
Conclusions: Results suggest that PP to misconduct constitutes a risk factor, while peer conformity and peer involvement reflect protective factors with regard to alcohol use. Moreover, results from the mediation analyses suggest that part of the association of PP with alcohol use came indirectly through DM: PP was associated with DM, which in turn were associated with alcohol use.
Keywords: Alcohol use; Drinking motives; Mediation; Peer pressure; Risky single-occasion drinking; Young adults.
Copyright © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.