Close friend and group influence on adolescent cigarette smoking and alcohol use

Dev Psychol. 1997 Sep;33(5):834-44. doi: 10.1037//0012-1649.33.5.834.


The relative influence of adolescents closest friends and their friendship group on their cigarette smoking and alcohol use was investigated in a short-term, longitudinal study of 1,028 students in the 6th, 8th, and 10th grades in 2 school systems. The amount of influence over the school year was modest in magnitude and came from the closest friend for initiation of cigarette and alcohol use. Only the friendship group use predicted transition into current cigarette use, whereas only the close friend use predicted transition into current alcohol use. Both group and close friends independently contributed to the prediction of adolescents' drinking to intoxication. No difference in the amount of influence, was found between stable and unstable close friendships or friendship groups; neither grade nor gender of the adolescents related to the amount of influence.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior* / ethnology
  • African Americans / psychology
  • African Continental Ancestry Group
  • Age Factors
  • Age of Onset
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology
  • Alcohol Drinking / psychology*
  • Alcoholic Intoxication / epidemiology
  • Alcoholic Intoxication / psychology*
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • European Continental Ancestry Group / psychology
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Iran / ethnology
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Midwestern United States / epidemiology
  • Peer Group*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Smoking / psychology*
  • Social Facilitation*
  • Sociometric Techniques