Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Locus of peer influence: Social crowd and best friend

  • 598 Accesses

  • 90 Citations

Abstract

This study examined the relative influence of the best friends and social crowds of older adolescents on cigarette smoking. The data were examined to determine if there were differences in influence as a function of sex, conformity, or the mutuality of the friendship. This study used a longitudinal design that enabled the separation of the effects of peer influence from those of selective association. The results showed that social crowds differed in mean level of cigarette smoking, with burnouts smoking the most and jock/preps smoking the least. The majority of best friendships were homogeneous for social crowd. Best friend influence predicted change in cigarette smoking over a one-year period, while social crowd influence appeared to be minimal. Conformity was positively related to susceptibility to peer influence, although mutuality of the friendship and sex of the subject were not.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References

  1. Ajzen, I., and Fishbein, M. (1970). The prediction of behavior from attitudinal and normative variables.J. Exp. Social Psychol. 6: 466–487.

  2. Bem, D. (1972). Self-perception theory. In Berkowitz, L. (ed.),Advances in Experimental Social Psychology (Vol. 6). Academic Press, New York.

  3. Berndt, T. J. (1979). Developmental changes in conformity to peers and parents.Develop. Psychol. 15: 608–616.

  4. Braucht, G. N. (1980). Psychosocial research on teenage drinking: Past and future. In Scarpetti, F. R., and Batesman, S. K. (eds.),Drugs and Youth Culture Beverly Hills, CA, Sage.

  5. Brown, B. B. (1989). The role of peer groups in adolescents' adjustment to secondary school. In Berndt, T. J., and Ladd, G. W. (eds.),Peer Relationships in Child Development. John Wiley & Sons, New York.

  6. Brown, B., Clasen, D., & Niess, J. (1987, April). Smoke in the looking glass: Adoelscents' perceptions of their peer group status. Paper presented at the biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, Baltimore.

  7. Brown, B. B., Eicher, S. A., and Petrie, S. (1986). The importance of peer group (“crowd”) affiliation in adolescence.J. Adolesc. 9: 73–96.

  8. Clasen, D., & Brown, B. (1985). The multidimensionality of peer pressure in adolescence.J. Youth Adolesc. 14: 451–468.

  9. Cohen, J. (1977). Sources of peer group homogeneity.Sociol. Educat. 50: 227–241.

  10. Cohen, J. (1983). Commentary: The relationship between friendship selection and peer influence. In Epstein, J. L., and Karweit, N. (eds.),Friends in School. Academic Press, New York.

  11. Cronbach, L., and Furby, L. (1970). How should we measure “change”—Or should we?Psychol. Bull. 74: 68–80.

  12. Davies, M., and Kandel, D. (1981). Parental and peer influences on adolescents' educational plans: some further evidence.Am. J. Sociol. 87: 363–387.

  13. Dunphy, D. C. (1963). The Social structure of urban adolescent peer groups.Sociometry 26: 230–246.

  14. Eagly, A. (1983). Gender and social influence.Am. Psychol. 38: 971–981.

  15. Eckert, P. (1989).Jocks and Burnouts: Social Categories and Identity in the High School. Teachers College Press, New York.

  16. Epstein, J. (1983). The selection of friends on achievement and affective outcomes. In Epstein, J., and Karweit, N. (eds.),Friends in School: Patterns of Selection and Influence. Academic Press, New York.

  17. Gollob, H., and Reichardt, C. (19877) Taking account of lime lags in causal models.Child Develop. 58: 80–92.

  18. Jones, E. and Sigal, H. (1971). The bogus pipeline: A new paradigm for measuring affect and attitude.Psychol. Bull. 76: 349–364.

  19. Kandel, D. (1978a). Similarity in real-life adolescent friendship pairs.J. Personal. Sociol. Psychol. 36: 306–312.

  20. Kandel, D. (1978b). Homophily, selection, and socialization in adolescent friendships.Am. J. Sociol. 84: 427–436.

  21. Kandel, D. (1985). On processes of peer influences in adolescent drug use: A developmental perspective.Alcohol Substance Abuse Adolesc.

  22. Kandel, D., Kessler, R., and Margulies, R. (1978). Antecedents of adolescent initiation into stages of drug use: A developmental analysis.J. Youth Adolesc. 7: 13–40.

  23. Lanese, R., Banks, F., and Keller, M. (1972). Smoking behavior in a teenage population: A multivariate conceptual approach.Am. J. Public Health 62: 807–812.

  24. Mosbach, P., and Leventhal, H. (1988). Peer group identity and smoking: Implications for intervention.J. Abnorm. Psychol. 97: 238–245.

  25. Pechacek, T., Murray, D., Luepker, R., Mittelmark, M., Johnson, C., and Shultz, J. (1984). Measurement of adolescent smoking behavior: Rationale and methods.J. Behav. Med. 7: 12–29.

  26. Riester, A. E., and Zucker, R. A. (1968). Adolescent social structure and drinking behavior.Person. Guid. J. 23: 304–312.

  27. Rugosa, D., Brandt, D., and Zimowski, M. (1982). A growth curve approach to the measurement of change.Psychol. Bull. 92: 726–748.

  28. Sherman, S. J., Presson, C. C., Chassin, L., Corty, E., and Olshavsky, R. (1983). The false consensus effect in estimates of smoking prevalence: Underlying mechanisms.Personal. Social Psychol. Bull. 9: 197–208.

  29. Shrum, W., & Cheek, N. (1987). Social structure during the school years: Onset of the degrouping process.Am. Sociol. Rev. 52: 218–223.

  30. Wilcox, S., and Udry, R. (1986). Autism and accuracy in adolescent perceptions of friends' sexual attitudes and behavior.J. Appl. Psychol. 16: 361–374.

  31. Urbert, K. A., and Deqirmencioglu, S. (1990). Peer influence on adolescent values. Paper presented at meeting of the American Psychological Association, Boston, 1989.

  32. Urberg, K. A., Shyu, S. J., and Liang, J. (1990). Peer influence in adolescent cigarette smoking.Addict. Behav. 115: 247–255.

Download references

Author information

Correspondence to Kathryn A. Urberg.

Additional information

This research was supported by NIH grant HD18425 awarded to Kathryn Urberg.

Obtained Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin in the Department of Educational Psychology. A developmental psychologist, her major area of interest is adolescent social development.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Urberg, K.A. Locus of peer influence: Social crowd and best friend. J Youth Adolescence 21, 439–450 (1992). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01537896

Download citation

Keywords

  • Cigarette Smoking
  • Health Psychology
  • Longitudinal Design
  • Relative Influence
  • Good Friend