An Examination of the Impact of Direct Peer Influence and Social Norms on Youth Participation in Structured Activities and Substance Use
AuthorWiggs, Christine Bracamonte
Stevens, Sally J.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractDuring adolescence many youth spend increasing amounts of time gaining new knowledge and skills outside of their home in environments such as structured afterschool activities. In these settings, youth have meaningful opportunities to explore new interests, develop varied competencies, and seek social support from peers and adults. As youth get older rates of participation in structured activities decline. Given the role that structured activities can play in nurturing positive youth development, gaining a better understanding of how peers may affect youth's choice to participate in structured activities is important. This study used logistic regression to examine the role of peer influence and how the perceptions of close friends (direct peer influence) and other peers (social norms) impact a youth's decision to participate in structured activities as well as use alcohol and marijuana. Additionally, the association between youth participation in structured activities and reported use of alcohol and marijuana was examined. Study results indicated that youth who reported engaging in specific types of structured activities, specifically performing arts and volunteering, reported lower rates of alcohol and marijuana use respectively. Direct peer influence was an important factor in substance use whereby for each additional best friend a youth had that participated in school activities, students were less likely to have used alcohol or marijuana. Findings are interpreted using an ecological systems perspective and demonstrate that gaining a better understanding of the influence that direct peers and social norms exert on youth behavior has important implications for promoting the positive development of youth.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Family & Consumer Sciences