Home > Exploring the positive impact of peers on adolescent substance misuse.

Coyle, Ciaran and Bramham, Jessica and Dundon, Neil and Moynihan, Manus and Carr, Alan (2016) Exploring the positive impact of peers on adolescent substance misuse. Journal of Child & Adolescent Substance Abuse, 25, (2), pp. 134-143.

Background: Previous research has consistently shown the negative impact that peers can have on adolescent substance use patterns. Few studies have examined the positive influence adolescents can have on their peers. This study aimed to examine the relationship of positive peer influence with indices of substance use and also to compare abstinent adolescents and substance-using adolescents on positive peer influence.


Method: One hundred fifty-four adolescents (age range 12–20 years) completed a questionnaire on positive peer influence and other correlates of adolescent substance use including mental health, family functioning, and social support.


Results: Positive peer influence was a significant predictor of lower substance use behaviors in adolescents, with positive influence from close friends being the strongest predictor. Substance-using adolescents' scores were significantly different from abstinent adolescents' scores for positive peer support, mental health functioning, impulsivity, and social support.


Conclusions: These results indicate that positive influence from adolescents' peers may act as a protective factor in substance use. This influence should be utilized to aid the design of prevention and intervention initiatives in adolescent substance use.

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