Tobacco Use by Middle and High School Chinese Adolescents and their Friends
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- Li, L., Lu, T., Niu, L. et al. J Youth Adolescence (2017) 46: 1262. doi:10.1007/s10964-016-0563-6
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Understanding the similarity of the tobacco use of youth and their friends and unraveling the extent to which this similarity results from selection or socialization is central to peer influence models of tobacco use. The similarity between the tobacco use of Chinese adolescents and their friends were explored in middle (880, 13.3 years, 399 girls) and high school (849, 16.6 years, 454 girls) cohorts assessed yearly at three times. Boys were more similar to their friends in tobacco use than were girls. Growth curve models revealed escalation of use during middle school and stable use during high school for boys, whereas models for girls could not be computed. Evidence of selection effects emerged from cross-lagged panel analyses revealing pathways from boys’ tobacco use to subsequent changes in their friends’ use; assessment of selection and influence processes could not be assessed for girls. The results from this study suggest that peer influence processes may differ for Chinese boys and girls and that further quantitative and qualitative research is necessary to understand these processes.