Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 46, Issue 6, pp 1262–1274 | Cite as

Tobacco Use by Middle and High School Chinese Adolescents and their Friends

  • Ling Li
  • Ting Lu
  • Li Niu
  • Yi Feng
  • Shenghua Jin
  • Doran C. French
Empirical Research


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.


Tobacco Friendship: China Peer influence 



The authors appreciate insights of Handrea Logis pertaining to the discussion of selection and influence in this manuscript

Author Contributions

: LI and SJ were involved in the initial design of the study, were completely responsible for the data collection, conducted analyses, and reviewed articles on tobacco use written in Chinese journals; LI, a doctoral student, took the lead in this effort and was supervised by SJ, her major professor. TL conducted the path analyses and participated in the writing of the publication. LN and YF managed the data set from the US side, conducted some of the analyses, and participated in the literature research and writing of the study. DF coordinated the research and was involved in all parts of the project including design, analysis, and presentation. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.


This research was supported by a Major Project of National Social Science Foundation of China. This grant is identified as (13&ZD073).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

All procedures used in this study were consistent with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Ethical Approval

The conduct of this research was approved by Purdue University Institutional Review Board.

Informed Consent

Signed parent consent and signed adolescent assent were obtained from all participants.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ling Li
    • 1
  • Ting Lu
    • 2
  • Li Niu
    • 2
  • Yi Feng
    • 2
  • Shenghua Jin
    • 1
  • Doran C. French
    • 2
  1. 1.School of PsychologyBeijing Normal University and a Professor of Psychology at Hubei UniversityBeijingChina
  2. 2.Department of Human Development and Family StudiesPurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA

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