Adolescent Smoking Behavior: The Relative Influence of Parental and Peer Norms

Trent Maurer, Georgia Southern University
L. Brunson
Joseph Pleck


Although parental and peer smoking behaviors and attitudes have been related to adolescent cigarette use in prior studies, these relationships have often been inconsistent across studies, and rarely have both behaviors and attitudes simultaneously been tested, say the authors of this article. In their study, the authors sought to address that shortcoming by applying norm focus theory to understand adolescent cigarette use and simultaneously testing the relative influence of parental and peer smoking behaviors and parental and peer attitudes toward adolescent smoking on adolescent cigarette use. They used a logistic regression to analyze the relative influences of norms on recent adolescent cigarette use in a sample of rural, Midwestern youth. Self-reported adolescent cigarette use was negatively predicted by youths' perceptions of parental objections to adolescent smoking, and positively predicted by youths' perceptions of adolescent smoking being common among their peers. Parental smoking behavior and peer injunctions against smoking, although modestly correlated with adolescent cigarette use, were not significant predictors in the regression model, but limited sample size provided insufficient power to detect smaller effects. Neither family structure, socioeconomic status, or parental monitoring were significant predictors of adolescent cigarette use.