Norms as Group-Level Constructs: Investigating School-Level Teen Pregnancy Norms and Behaviors

Citation

Mollborn, Stefanie; Domingue, Benjamin W.; & Boardman, Jason D. (2014). Norms as Group-Level Constructs: Investigating School-Level Teen Pregnancy Norms and Behaviors. Social Forces. vol. 93 (1) pp. 241-267 , PMCID: PMC4460822

Abstract

Social norms are a group-level phenomenon, but past quantitative research has rarely measured them in the aggregate or considered their group-level properties. We used the school-based design of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health to measure normative climates regarding teen pregnancy across 75 US high schools. We distinguished between the strength of a school's norm against teen pregnancy and the consensus around that norm. School-level norm strength and dissensus were strongly (r = –0.65) and moderately (r = 0.34) associated with pregnancy prevalence within schools, respectively. Normative climate partially accounted for observed racial differences in school pregnancy prevalence, but norms were a stronger predictor than racial composition. As hypothesized, schools with both a stronger average norm against teen pregnancy and greater consensus around the norm had the lowest pregnancy prevalence. Results highlight the importance of group-level normative processes and of considering the local school environment when designing policies to reduce teen pregnancy.

URL

http://sf.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2014/06/17/sf.sou063.abstract

Reference Type

Journal Article

Journal Title

Social Forces

Author(s)

Mollborn, Stefanie
Domingue, Benjamin W.
Boardman, Jason D.

Year Published

2014

Volume Number

93

Issue Number

1

Pages

241-267

DOI

10.1093/sf/sou063

PMCID

PMC4460822

NIHMSID

NIHMS693507

Reference ID

4993