The influence of positional and experienced social benefits on the relationship between peers and alcohol use

Citation

Gallupe, Owen & Bouchard, Martin (2015). The influence of positional and experienced social benefits on the relationship between peers and alcohol use. Rationality and Society. vol. 27 (1) pp. 40-69

Abstract

An assumption of peer influence research is that being connected to an alcohol-using peer group is associated with personal alcohol use. However, most research assesses peer influence through simply counting the number of peers involved in a particular behavior or the amount of that behavior within a person’s peer group. Rarely considered is the fact that behavioral pressures may only arise when the peer group actually provides substantial benefits to adolescents. This study examines whether adolescents who associate with peers who drink are as likely to be drinkers themselves when they receive high levels of social benefits as compared to adolescents who receive lower levels. Specifically, the authors examine how the effect of peer alcohol use on individual decisions to drink is conditioned by the social status and power that come with occupying sociometrically optimal positions (high popularity, centrality, density) and more concretely experienced social benefits (e.g. spending time/talking with/confiding in friends). Using the longitudinal Add Health data (n = 13,351), we find that peer alcohol use is most strongly related to personal alcohol use when a person is subject to greater social benefits in terms of both sociometric position and through closer one-on-one interactions with peers.

URL

http://rss.sagepub.com/content/27/1/40.abstract

Reference Type

Journal Article

Journal Title

Rationality and Society

Author(s)

Gallupe, Owen
Bouchard, Martin

Year Published

2015

Volume Number

27

Issue Number

1

Pages

40-69

DOI

10.1177/1043463114546316

Reference ID

5449