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Home > The relationship between alcohol use and peer pressure susceptibility, peer popularity and general conformity in Northern Irish school children.

McKay, Michael T and Cole, Jon C (2012) The relationship between alcohol use and peer pressure susceptibility, peer popularity and general conformity in Northern Irish school children. Drugs: Education Prevention and Policy , 19 , (3) , pp. 213-222.

This cross-sectional study investigated the bivariate and more fully controlled (with socio-demographic measures) relationship between self-reported drinking behaviour and peer pressure susceptibility, desire for peer popularity and general conformity in a sample of 11–16-year-old school children in Northern Ireland.

Self-reported drinking behaviour was assessed using a composite measure of drinking behaviour, the Adolescent Alcohol Involvement Scale (Mayer, J., & Filstead, W.J. (1979). The adolescent alcohol involvement scale. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 40, 291–300). Post-primary (High) schools in the Greater Belfast Area were targeted and 629 participants were recruited of whom 610 (97%) successfully completed a set of questionnaires. Bivariate and more fully controlled regression analyses revealed that problematic alcohol use was predicted by higher peer pressure susceptibility, lower desire for popularity and lower general conformity. More problematic drinking was also predicted by being in Middle versus Junior school, and by being female. Despite the suggestion that alcohol use among adolescents is normative behaviour, these results suggest that increasing levels of drinking, assessed by a composite measure are associated with the social risk factors assessed, namely greater susceptibility to peer pressure, less conformity and lower levels of desire for peer popularity.


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