199833 Role of social identity in adolescent smoking behavior

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 5:42 PM

Meghan Bridgid Moran, PhD , Annenberg School for Communication, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Aims: Using peer group affiliation research as a starting point, this study aims to evaluate a measure of peer group identification that is grounded in social identity theory and to understand the extent to which peer group identification affects adolescent smoking susceptibility, uptake and maintenance. Methods: A nationally representative sample of 14- and 15-year olds (N=250) were given a survey measuring their identification with 26 peer groups determined in pre-testing to be specifically associated with smoking or not smoking. Participants were also asked about their smoking susceptibility and behavior, as well as about a variety of control factors such as demographics, social norms and sensation seeking. Results: Hierarchical regression analysis showed that the extent to which adolescents identified with smoking-related groups (e.g. rebels, partiers, emo kids) was independently related to an increased likelihood of smoking or being susceptible to cigarette use, even after controlling for factors such as social norms, demographic variables, school achievement and sensation seeking. Similarly, the extent to which adolescents identified with non-smoking-related groups (e.g. nerds, smart kids, band kids) was independently related to a decreased likelihood of smoking or being susceptible to cigarette use. Ways in which these findings can be used by health and media practitioners to design effective anti-smoking campaigns are discussed.

Learning Objectives:
Analyze the extent to which identification with social groups affects adolescent smoking behavior. Discuss the ways in which these findings can be used to design anti-smoking campaigns.

Keywords: Smoking, Adolescents

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have designed and conducted this research as part of my dissertation for completion of my Ph.D.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.