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Dev Psychol. 1997 Sep;33(5):834-44.

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

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan 48202, USA.


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.

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