261775 Profiles of reported addiction to twenty-one behaviors by adolescent peer group

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Meghan Bridgid Moran, PhD , School of Communication, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA
Steve Sussman, PhD, FAAHB, FAPA , Institute for Health Promotion & Disease Prevention Research, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Background: Considerable evidence indicates that the peer group with which an adolescent identifies is associated with risk behaviors including substance use, unhealthful dieting and risky sexual behavior. The current study advances this research by providing comprehensive profiles of reported problematic addiction to 21 behaviors by peer group. Methods: Four hundred forty-six youth aged 12-15, randomly selected from a nationally representative sample, were surveyed online. Peer group identification was measured by having participants indicate their level of identification with 11 groups; factor analysis produced three factors (deviant, academic, elite). Reported addiction was measured by asking participants whether they have ever been addicted to each of 21 behaviors (yes/no). Logistic regression analysis (controlling for age, ethnicity, socio-economic status and gender) produced profiles of addictive behavior based on peer group identification. Results: Deviants reported being addicted to a significantly higher number of behaviors. They were at increased risk for reported addiction to cigarettes (OR=3.910, p < .001), marijuana (OR=3.082, p < .001), caffeine (OR=3.825, p < .001), sex (OR=3.184, p < .05) and stealing (OR=6.679, p < .001). Elites were at increased risk for reported addiction to texting (OR=1.628, p < .01) and online social networking (OR=1.564, p < .004). Academics did not exhibit increased risk for any reported addiction. Conclusions: Different peer groups exhibit different profiles of reported addictive behaviors. Self-identified group does not necessarily delineate whether one suffers from a problematic addiction but does delineate type of problem addiction. Implications for youth development and public health practice will be discussed.

Learning Areas:
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Diversity and culture
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Name which type of behaviors adolescents who identify with different peer groups are more likely to report being addicted to. Compare adolescent peer groups on profiles of reported problematic addiction. Demonstrate applications of this research for public health practice and promotion.

Keywords: Adolescent Health, Substance Abuse

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: As principal investigator of this particular study, I led the research design and analysis. Throughout my career, I have focused on adolescent peer group identification and its related health outcomes.
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.