This book has been designed to examine the current research question of the relative impact of peer selection and peer influence on increasing similarity in the substance use of teenagers and their peers. The question has been approached differently to earlier research. While previous research has used dyadic or small clique data to examine this question (Cohen, 1977: 239; Kandel, 1978b: 436; Bauman and Ennett, 1996: 187), this book uses a population study of one community of teenagers and a complete network of their peer ties. The book examines the substance use behaviour of the teenagers in the context of the broader social networks in which their lives are embedded in order to get a comprehensive understanding of the impact of various social forces on their substance use. These social networks include their families and community, as well as their peers. A social network approach has been used, focussing on the network of relationships the teenagers have with their peers in the community, and various individual attributes and family variables have been added to get a comprehensive overview of the teenagers’ lives and the influences that have affected their substance use. A complete network of peer relationships in this community has provided the peer network data and this has been used for single level and multilevel analyses.
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