The Journal of Primary Prevention

, Volume 31, Issue 4, pp 191–208 | Cite as

Recent Findings on Peer Group Influences on Adolescent Smoking

  • Bruce G. Simons-Morton
  • Tilda Farhat
Original Paper


This review addresses peer group influences on adolescent smoking with a particular focus on recently published longitudinal studies that have investigated the topic. Specifically, we examine the theoretical explanations for how social influence works with respect to adolescent smoking; discuss the association between peer and adolescent smoking; consider socialization and selection processes with respect to smoking; investigate the relative influence of best friends, close friends, and crowd affiliations; and examine parenting behaviors that could buffer the effects of peer influence. Our review indicates the following with respect to adolescent smoking: (a) substantial peer group homogeneity of smoking behavior; (b) support for both socialization and selection effects, although evidence is somewhat stronger for selection; (c) an interactive influence of best friends, peer groups, and crowd affiliation; and (d) an indirect protective effect of positive parenting practices against the uptake of adolescent smoking. We conclude with implications for research and prevention programs.


Adolescents Smoking Peer influence Literature review 



This research was supported in part by the intramural research program of the NIH, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.


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© US Government 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Prevention Research Branch, Division of Epidemiology, Statistics, and Prevention ResearchEunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human DevelopmentBethesdaUSA

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