Moderators of the peer context of alcohol use among black and white adolescents Public Deposited

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  • March 21, 2019
  • MacKinnon, Dorene
    • Affiliation: School of Education
  • Using data from the Context of Adolescent Substance Use, the current study investigated and compared how the peer contexts of Black and White youth influence adolescent drinking behavior, while considering the moderating influences of family and school contexts. Primary socialization theory guided the research which suggests that the peer context is primary in the transmission of pro-social and deviant norms for the adolescent, but that peer influences can be moderated by family and school influences. The two most important contextual influences identified by the theory are behavioral norms and the strength of the bonds with others in the context. A specific study aim was to investigate whether the effects of adolescent alcohol use on alcohol use by peers, mother, and schoolmates were moderated by the adolescent's attachment to peers, mother, and school, respectively. In addition, the study examined whether the effects of peer alcohol use on adolescent alcohol use were moderated by alcohol use by mother and schoolmates and by the adolescent's attachment to mother and school. Relationships were examined for both any recent alcohol and heavy alcohol use, and separate analyses were conducted for Black and White youth. Consistent with prior studies of adolescent alcohol behavior, findings supported some differences between Black and White youth in predictors of alcohol use. Moreoever, aligned with the theoretical framework, the study results show the behavior of the peer context - peer alcohol use - to be the most salient predictor for adolescent alcohol behaviors. Other relationships suggested by the theoretical framework supported were for the mother context such that attachment to the mother attenuated the influence of mother's alcohol use on recent alcohol use for both Black and White youth and on recent heavy alcohol use for White youth only. For the school context, counterintuitive findings resulted. Therefore, results show the strength of attachment to and reported alcohol use of other adolescent social contexts are important in transmitting pro-social or deviant norms. However, a richer understanding of how social contexts transmit norms for Black and White youth warrants further investigation using Primary Socialization Theory.
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  • In Copyright
  • Frierson, Henry T.
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  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Open access

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