Adolescent Perceptions of Delinquent Behavior Based on Individual Smoking Status: Friends and Peers
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Adolescent social influence is a contributing factor to higher rates of delinquent behaviors such as tobacco use, alcohol abuse, illicit drug use, and sexual activity. The objective of this study is to assess how the distinction between the perception of two social groups, peer and friend, influences behavior based on individual smoking status. Data from the 2006 Adolescent Health Risk Behaviors Survey is used for secondary analysis using questions that address individual perception of delinquent behavior based on peer ("people your age") and friends. An independent samples t-test is used to assess the combined friend and peer perception based on lifetime smoking status (non-smokers and smokers). Next, a paired samples t-test using the significant variable of smokers only is used to measure the difference in perception of the social groups, peer vs. friend. The data indicated that there is a perceived difference between social groups behavior based on smoking status with smokers perceiving their peers to be more delinquent than their friends. There is a need for further research to address true prevalence rates in adolescent social groups and education efforts to focus on the dynamic of social interactions that influence delinquent behaviors.