Dangerous liaisons? Dating and drinking diffusion in adolescent peer networks


Kreager, Derek A. & Haynie, Dana L. (2010). Dangerous liaisons? Dating and drinking diffusion in adolescent peer networks. 2010 Add Health Users Conference. Bethesda, MD.


Consistent with social learning expectations, recent research finds a positive correlation between an adolescent’s own problem behavior and the behavior of his or her romantic partner. However, prior studies often neglect issues of partner selection and the broader peer context within which teenage dating occurs. In this study, we draw on Granovetter’s classic concept of weak ties to argue that adolescent dating partners become network bridges connecting daters to new peer contexts that promote behavioral change. Using data from Add Health’s in-school and Wave II surveys for 466 romantic couples, we estimate Actor-Partner Interdependence Models to identify effects of partners’ friends’ drinking on an adolescent’s own future drinking frequency and binge drinking. Findings support our hypothesis and suggest that a partner’s friends’ drinking behaviors have independent effects on future drinking. Moreover, this effect is larger than the impact of one’s own peers and is generally immune to the effects of selection. Romantic relationships are thus important mechanisms explaining changes in peer contexts and the social influence of indirect network ties.



Reference Type

Conference proceeding

Book Title

2010 Add Health Users Conference


Kreager, Derek A.
Haynie, Dana L.

Year Published


City of Publication

Bethesda, MD

Reference ID