wsu symposium nov2004

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Pubertal Development, Choice of Friends, and Smoking Initiation among Adolescent Males: 

Pubertal Development, Choice of Friends, and Smoking Initiation among Adolescent Males Laurie A. Drapela WSU PS/CJ Research Symposium Series Friday, November 5th

Smoking among youth: 

Smoking among youth Problematic for several reasons: Tends to be one of the first substances youth experiment with… Associated with negative health outcomes (adult smoking, use of other drugs); behavioral outcomes (delinquency, precocious sexual behavior) Researchers have primarily considered the effects of parents and peers on youth smoking Psychologists: sexual maturity

Considering the interrelation of peers and pubertal development on youth deviance: 

Considering the interrelation of peers and pubertal development on youth deviance Moffitt’s Developmental Taxonomy: Adolescence-limited v. life course persistent offenders (see figure) Maturity gap and mimicry Frustration and desire for autonomy provide motivation for deviance Smoking as an expression of autonomy


If Moffitt is correct, then we should see: a positive effect of pubertal development (PD) on deviant peers as well as youth smoking/initiation Possible conditional effect of deviant peers on youth smoking/initiation among kids who experience early PD

Data, Measures, & Method: 

Data, Measures, & Method Data: Waves I and II of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) males aged 12-16 (N=3958) W I prev. 2105/3958; W II prev. 322/1853 Measures: Criterion: smoking prevalence (WI); smoking initiation (WII) # of 3 best friends who smoke (Wvs. I & II)


Predictor: PD index (5 questions): amount of hair under the arms, thickness of facial hair, deepening of the voice, self-reported relative PD (R: 4-19) W I alpha = .65; W II alpha = .66 Parent smoking Peer smoking (see prior page) demographics (age, race) Method: logit (smoking prevalence; initiation) ordered logit (# of friends who smoke)


Results Average male in the sample is white, 14 years old, has a 50% chance of having smoked at least once and a 30% chance of having a parent who smokes (Table 1). PD has a direct positive effect on the odds of W I youth smoking (T2) and an indirect effect through the number of peers who smoke @ W I (T3). Appears to be a lagged effect of W I peer selection on W II peer selection (T4, mod. 3) AND it appears that those boys with high levels of PD at younger ages are more likely to see out peers who smoke (T4, mod. 3)


But among those who took up smoking between these first two waves… the influence of peer smoking is contemporaneous, not lagged (mods. 1-2) the effect of PD is also contemporaneous, not lagged (mods. 3-4) there is no conditional effect of pubertal development and age on smoking initiation rather seems to be indirect, through # of peers who smoke at W II (T 4)

Conclusions and Caveats: 

Conclusions and Caveats Findings are consistent with Moffitt’s theory effects of PD on youth smoking effects of PD on deviant peers these results suggest that the timing of pubertal development may be a very critical factor in the selection of deviant peers (early PD) Caveats not measuring many of the intervening mechanisms of the theory selection versus stability of deviant friends? collinearity issues

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