Peer influence: Facebook, Twitter, alcohol and drugs

Peer influence: Facebook, Twitter, alcohol and drugs

(Medical Xpress)—When it comes to alcohol and drug use, peers can be just as influential online as they are in person, researchers at the University of Michigan School of Public Health say.

To gather what they believe to be the most comprehensive survey to date to look at how peers influence one another on Internet social platforms with regard to alcohol and marijuana use, the U-M researchers polled an online sample of 3,447 people ages 18-24 across the United States.

The research, appearing in the November issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs and online now, found that greater online was associated with higher levels of drinking.

Sarah Stoddard and colleagues at the School of Public Health looked specifically at the association between and the presence of alcohol and marijuana content on Internet and perceived norms about posting such content.

The study found that those who thought their parents and peers would be upset if they viewed images of their drinking and drug use online were less likely to drink. Further, who reported more online were less likely to use alcohol.

For marijuana use, Stoddard and colleagues could not establish an association between online content and use of the substance. However, those who were concerned about negative reactions from others if they were to post images of drinking and drug use online were less likely to report marijuana use.

In addition, the researchers found that alcohol use was associated with the number of images of such activity on the respondents' social sites.

"We were surprised, however, that attitudes about whether it was ok to post images and updates about drinking were not associated with alcohol use. If you see what peers are doing, it perhaps is more socially acceptable," said Stoddard, research assistant professor of and at the School of Public Health.

"This information suggests use of these social platforms could be a good way to reach young adults with messages about alcohol and marijuana use and other health behaviors. And images may be effective in a social networking environment."

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Immunotherapy inhibits heroin effects in research animals

Jan 20, 2015

Immunotherapy could have a place in the treatment of substance abuse in the future. A specific antibody can reduce the acute effects of heroin, according to a new experimental study at the Norwegian Institute ...

Opinion: Will legal marijuana lead to more addicts?

Jan 14, 2015

At present, cannabis is fully legalized in Colorado and Washington and will soon be fully legalized in Oregon and Alaska. Additionally, medical cannabis is legal in 23 states. The writing is on the wall that more and more states are going to legal ...

Alcohol warnings from parents matter

Jan 08, 2015

Parenting practices and restrictions when it comes to alcohol use can make a difference with adolescent drinking, and there is considerable value to consistent and sustained parental attitudes about drinking, ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.