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Social network analysis is applied at the first two time points of a longitudinal study which examines how smoking and drug use in adolescence is associated with social position within peer group structures. One hundred and fifty secondary second grade students in one school named up to six best friends. This allowed for the categorization of each adolescent as a group member, a group peripheral, or a relative isolate. It was found that risk-taking behaviour occurred across all social positions. At both time points of the study the behaviour of pupils on the periphery of peer groups reflected both the gender and the behaviour of the groups themselves. At the second time point of the study there were far more pupils on the periphery of risk-taking groups than on the periphery of non-risktaking groups. The relationship appears to verify that risk-taking and non-risk-taking behaviour is learned predominantly in the context of peer clusters, and that risk-taking peer clusters act as a greater focus of influence and selection of peripheral pupils at a key stage in their development than do non-risk-taking peer clusters. Our findings are relevant in the debate about peer pressure in relation to smoking and drug use.
|Glasgow Author(s):||Pearson, Mrs Michelle|
|Authors:||Pearson, M., and Michell, L.|
|Subjects:||H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare|
|College/School:||College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Medicine > Centre for Population and Health Sciences|
|Journal Name:||Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy|