Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 44, Issue 10, pp 1914–1928

Befriending Risky Peers: Factors Driving Adolescents’ Selection of Friends with Similar Marijuana Use

  • Kayla de la Haye
  • Harold D. GreenJr.
  • Michael S. Pollard
  • David P. Kennedy
  • Joan S. Tucker
Empirical Research

Abstract

Adolescents often befriend peers who are similar to themselves on a range of demographic, behavioral, and social characteristics, including substance use. Similarities in lifetime history of marijuana use have even been found to predict adolescent friendships, and we examine whether this finding is explained by youth’s selection of friends who are similar on a range of more proximate, observable characteristics that are risk factors for marijuana use. Using two waves of individual and social network data from two high schools that participated in Add Health (N = 1,612; 52.7 % male), we apply longitudinal models for social networks to test whether or not several observable risky attributes (psychological, behavioral, and social) predict adolescent friendship choices, and if these preferences explain friend’s similarities on lifetime marijuana use. Findings show that similarities on several risk factors predict friendship choices, however controlling for this, the preference to befriend peers with a similar history of marijuana use largely persists. The results highlight the range of social selection processes that lead to similarities in marijuana use among friends and larger peer groups, and that also give rise to friendship groups whose members share similar risk factors for substance use. Friends with high “collective risk” are likely to be important targets for preventing the onset and social diffusion of substance use in adolescents.

Keywords

Marijuana use Adolescence Peers Social networks Social selection Friendship 

References

  1. Andrews, J. A., Tildesley, E., Hops, H., & Li, F. (2002). The influence of peers on young adult substance use. Health Psychology, 21, 349–357. doi:10.1037/0278-6133.21.4.349.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Bearman, P. S., Jones, J., & Udry, J. R. (1997). The national longitudinal study of adolescent health: Research design. http://www.cpc.unc.edu/projects/addhealth
  3. Brechwald, W. A., & Prinstein, M. J. (2011). Beyond homophily: A decade of advances in understanding peer influence processes. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 21, 166–179. doi:10.1111/j.1532-7795.2010.00721.x.PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Bronfenbrenner, U. (1977). Toward an experimental ecology of human development. American Psychologist, 32, 513–531. doi:10.1037/0003-066x.32.7.513.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Burk, W. J., Van der Vorst, H., Kerr, M., & Stattin, H. (2012). Alcohol use and friendship dynamics: Selection and socialization in early-, middle-, and late-adolescent peer networks. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 73, 89–98.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Campbell, R., Starkey, F., Holliday, J., Audrey, S., Bloor, M., Parry-Langdon, N., et al. (2008). An informal school-based peer-led intervention for smoking prevention in adolescence (ASSIST): A cluster randomised trial. Lancet, 371, 1595–1602. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(08)60668-6.PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Clark, A. E., & Lohéac, Y. (2007). “It wasn’t me, it was them!” Social influence in risky behavior by adolescents. Journal of Health Economics, 26, 763–784. doi:10.1016/j.jhealeco.2006.11.005.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. de la Haye, K., Green, H. D., Kennedy, D. P., Pollard, M. S., & Tucker, J. S. (2013). Selection and influence mechanisms associated with marijuana initiation and use in adolescent friendship networks. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 23, 474–486. doi:10.1111/jora.12018.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. de la Haye, K., Robins, G., Mohr, P., & Wilson, C. (2011). Homophily and contagion as explanations for weight similarities among adolescent friends. Journal of Adolescent Health, 49, 421–427. doi:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2011.02.008.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. De Vries, H., Candel, M., Engels, R., & Mercken, L. (2006). Challenges to the peer influence paradigm: Results for 12–13 year olds from six European countries from the European Smoking Prevention Framework Approach study. Tobacco Control, 15, 83–89. doi:10.1136/tc.2003.007237.PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Dishion, T. J., McCord, J., & Poulin, F. (1999). When interventions harm: Peer groups and problem behavior. American Psychologist, 54(9), 755–764. doi:10.1037/0003-066X.54.9.755.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Donovan, J. E., Jessor, R., & Costa, F. M. (1991). Adolescent health behavior and conventionality-unconventionality: An extension of problem-behavior therapy. Health Psychology, 10, 52–61. doi:10.1037/0278-6133.10.1.52.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Eaton, D. K., Kann, L., Kinchen, S., Shanklin, S., Flint, K. H., Hawkins, J., et al. (2012). Youth risk behavior surveillance—United States, 2011. Morbidity and mortality weekly report. Surveillance summaries (Washington, DC: 2002), 61, 1–162.Google Scholar
  14. Ennett, S. T., Bauman, K. E., Hussong, A., Faris, R., Foshee, V. A., Cai, L., et al. (2006). The peer context of adolescent substance use: Findings from social network analysis. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 16, 159–186. doi:10.1111/j.1532-7795.2006.00127.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Goodreau, S. M., Kitts, J. A., & Morris, M. (2009). Birds of a feather, or friend of a friend? Using exponential random graph models to investigate adolescent social networks. Demography, 46, 103–125. doi:10.1353/dem.0.0045.PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Goodwin, N., Mrug, S., Borch, C., & Cillessen, A. H. N. (2012). Peer selection and socialization in adolescent depression: The role of school transitions. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 41, 320–332. doi:10.1007/s10964-011-9723-x.PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Gullone, E., & Moore, S. (2000). Adolescent risk-taking and the five-factor model of personality. Journal of Adolescence, 23, 393–407. doi:10.1006/jado.2000.0327.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Hafen, C. A., Laursen, B., Burk, W. J., Kerr, M., & Stattin, H. (2011). Homophily in stable and unstable adolescent friendships: Similarity breeds constancy. Personality and Individual Differences, 51, 607–612. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2011.05.027.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hawkins, J. D., Catalano, R. F., & Miller, J. Y. (1992). Risk and protective factors for alcohol and other drug problems in adolescence and early adulthood: Implications for substance abuse prevention. Psychological Bulletin, 112, 64–105. doi:10.1037/0033-2909.112.1.64.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Huisman, C. (2014). Does it matter what friends think, say, or do? The role of friends’ smoking attitudes and behavior for Dutch adolescents’ smoking behavior. Substance Use and Misuse, 49, 715–723. doi:10.3109/10826084.2013.863347.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Kiuru, N., Burk, W. J., Laursen, B., Nurmi, J.-E., & Salmela-Aro, K. (2012). Is depression contagious? A test of alternative peer socialization mechanisms of depressive symptoms in adolescent peer networks. Journal of Adolescent Health, 50, 250–255. doi:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2011.06.013.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Kiuru, N., Burk, W. J., Laursen, B., Salmela-Aro, K., & Nurmi, J.-E. (2010). Pressure to drink but not to smoke: Disentangling selection and socialization in adolescent peer networks and peer groups. Journal of Adolescence, 33, 801–812. doi:10.1016/j.adolescence.2010.07.006.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Knecht, A., Burk, W. J., Weesie, J., & Steglich, C. (2011). Friendship and alcohol use in early adolescence: A multilevel social network approach. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 21, 475–487. doi:10.1111/j.1532-7795.2010.00685.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Knecht, A., Snijders, T. A. B., Baerveldt, C., Steglich, C. E. G., & Raub, W. (2010). Friendship and delinquency: Selection and influence processes in early adolescence. Social Development, 19, 494–514. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9507.2009.00564.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Kotov, R., Gamez, W., Schmidt, F., & Watson, D. (2010). Linking “big” personality traits to anxiety, depressive, and substance use disorders: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 136, 768–821. doi:10.1037/a0020327.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Lazarsfeld, P. F., & Merton, M. K. (1954). Friendship as a social process: A substantive and methodological analysis. In M. Berger (Ed.), Freedom and control in modern society (pp. 18–66). New York: Van Nostrand.Google Scholar
  27. Maxwell, K. A. (2002). Friends: The role of peer influence across adolescent risk behaviors. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 31, 267–277. doi:10.1023/A:1015493316865.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. McPherson, M., Smith-Lovin, L., & Cook, J. M. (2001). Birds of a feather: Homophily in social networks. Annual Review of Sociology, 27, 415–444. doi:10.1146/annurev.soc.27.1.415.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Mercken, L., Steglich, C., Knibbe, R., & de Vries, H. (2012a). Dynamics of friendship networks and alcohol use in early and mid-adolescence. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 73, 99–110.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. Mercken, L., Steglich, C., Sinclair, P., Holliday, J., & Moore, L. (2012b). A longitudinal social network analysis of peer influence, peer selection, and smoking behavior among adolescents in British schools. Health Psychology, 31, 450–459. doi:10.1037/a0026876.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Moody, J. (2001). Race, school integration, and friendship segregation in America. American Journal of Sociology, 107, 679–716. doi:10.1086/338954.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Newcomb, M. D., Maddahian, E., & Bentler, P. M. (1986). Risk factors for drug use among adolescents: Concurrent and longitudinal analyses. American Journal of Public Health, 76, 525–531. doi:10.2105/AJPH.76.5.525.PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. Pollard, M. S., Tucker, J. S., Green, H. D., Kennedy, D. P., & Go, M.-H. (2010). Friendship networks and trajectories of adolescent tobacco use. Addictive Behaviors, 35, 678–685. doi:10.1016/j.addbeh.2010.02.013.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. Poulin, F., Kiesner, J., Pedersen, S., & Dishion, T. J. (2011). A short-term longitudinal analysis of friendship selection on early adolescent substance use. Journal of Adolescence, 34, 249–256. doi:10.1016/j.adolescence.2010.05.006.PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. Prinstein, M. J., Boergers, J., & Spirito, A. (2001). Adolescents’ and their friends’ health-risk behavior: Factors that alter or add to peer influence. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 26, 287–298. doi:10.1093/jpepsy/26.5.287.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. Radloff, L. S. (1977). The CES-D Scale. Applied Psychological Measurement, 1, 385–401. doi:10.1177/014662167700100306.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Ripley, R., Snijders, T. A. B., Boda, Z., Voros, A., & Preciado, P. (2014). Manual for RSiena. http://www.stats.ox.ac.uk/~snijders/siena/RSiena_Manual.pdf
  38. Snijders, T. A. B., Steglich, C. E. G., & Schweinberger, M. (2007). Modeling the co-evolution of networks and behavior. In K. van Montfort, H. Oud, & A. Satorra (Eds.), Longitudinal models in the behavioral and related sciences (pp. 41–71). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  39. Snijders, T. A. B., van de Bunt, G. G., & Steglich, C. E. G. (2010). Introduction to stochastic actor-based models for network dynamics. Social Networks, 32, 44–60. doi:10.1016/j.socnet.2009.02.004.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Sznitman, S. R. (2013). Peer social network and adolescent alcohol use. OA Alcohol, 1, 9. http://www.oapublishinglondon.com/images/article/pdf/1390443205.pdf
  41. Tucker, J. S., de la Haye, K., Kennedy, D. P., Green, H. D, Jr, & Pollard, M. S. (2014). Peer influence on marijuana use in different types of friendships. Journal of Adolescent Health, 54, 67–73. doi:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2013.07.025.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  42. Valente, T. W. (2012). Network interventions. Science, 337, 49–53. doi:10.1126/science.1217330.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  43. Van Zalk, N., Van Zalk, M., Kerr, M., & Stattin, H. (2011). Social anxiety as a basis for friendship selection and socialization in adolescents’ social networks. Journal of Personality, 79, 499–526. doi:10.1111/j.1467-6494.2011.00682.x.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  44. Veenstra, R., Dijkstra, J. K., Steglich, C., & Van Zalk, M. (2013). Network-behavior dynamics. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 23, 399–412. doi:10.1111/jora.12070.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Young, J. K., & Beaujean, A. A. (2011). Measuring personality in wave I of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. Frontiers in Psychology, 2, 2011. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2011.00158.eCollection.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kayla de la Haye
    • 1
  • Harold D. GreenJr.
    • 2
  • Michael S. Pollard
    • 2
  • David P. Kennedy
    • 2
  • Joan S. Tucker
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Preventive Medicine, Institute for Prevention Research (IPR)University of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.RAND CorporationSanta MonicaUSA

Personalised recommendations