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Subst Use Misuse. 2013 Apr;48(5):371-8. doi: 10.3109/10826084.2013.765479. Epub 2013 Feb 19.

Alcohol makes you macho and helps you make friends: the role of masculine norms and peer pressure in adolescent boys' and girls' alcohol use.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, USA.


Peer pressure and general conformity to adult norms have been found to be strongly associated with alcohol use among adolescents; however there is limited knowledge about the sociocultural factors that might influence this relationship. Theory and research suggest that masculine norms might directly and indirectly contribute to alcohol use through peer pressure and general conformity to adult norms. Whereas being male is typically identified as a risk factor for alcohol use, masculine norms provide greater specificity than sex alone in explaining why some boys drink more than others. There is growing evidence that girls who endorse masculine norms may be at heightened risk of engaging in risky behaviors including alcohol use. Data were provided by adolescents living in a rural area in the Northeastern United States and were collected in 2006. This study demonstrated that masculine norms were associated with peer pressure and general conformity and alcohol use for both adolescent girls (n = 124) and boys (n = 138), though the relationship between masculine norms and alcohol use was stronger for boys. The study's limitations are noted and theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

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