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J Stud Alcohol. 1985 Jan;46(1):39-47.

Self-image and social-image factors in adolescent alcohol use.


To investigate the social image of adolescent drinking, high-school students were asked to rate slides of drinking and nondrinking peer models. The image was ambivalent, with both social liabilities and possible social benefits (including toughness and precocity). This image was then related to adolescent drinking behavior. It was hypothesized that adolescents might be more likely to drink if their self-concepts were consistent with a drinking image (consistency theory), if their ideal self-concepts were consistent with a drinking image (self-enhancement) or if their friends admired a drinking image (impression management). Analyses of subjects' current drinking behavior supported both the consistency and self-enhancement hypotheses. Moreover, boys' intentions to drink in the future were related to consistency and impression-management variables (controlling for current drinking). Girls' intentions were not related to any of these self-image and social-image factors. Implications for adolescent alcohol use and misuse are discussed.

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