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Soc Sci Med. 2014 Aug;115:139-43. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2014.05.030. Epub 2014 May 21.

Understanding the sources of normative influence on behavior: the example of tobacco.

Author information

1
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Department of Health, Behavior and Society, USA. Electronic address: emead1@jhu.edu.
2
George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health, Department of Prevention & Community Health, USA. Electronic address: rrimal@gwu.edu.
3
University of Toronto Dalla Lana School of Public Health, Ontario Tobacco Research Unit, Canada. Electronic address: Roberta.Ferrence@camh.ca.
4
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Institute for Global Tobacco Control, Department of Health, Behavior and Society, 2213 McElderry Street, 4th Floor, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA; Ontario Tobacco Research Unit, Canada. Electronic address: jcohen@jhu.edu.

Abstract

Despite extensive research on social norms, the sources of norm formation are not well understood. Social exposure to a behavior (defined as the composite of ways through which people see that behavior in their social, physical, and symbolic environments) can serve as a source of normative influence. Using tobacco as a case study, we propose that research should move beyond categories of individuals as sources of norms and focus on a broader range of sources of normative influences. An understanding of social exposure as a source for norms may be important to better understand and intervene in environments to promote public health. We make policy recommendations arising from the explication of social exposure and propose directions for future research.

KEYWORDS:

Environment; Norms; Smoking; Social exposure; Tobacco use

PMID:
24910005
PMCID:
PMC4124724
DOI:
10.1016/j.socscimed.2014.05.030
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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