Peer influence: Facebook, Twitter, alcohol and drugs

October 16, 2012
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."

Explore further: Peers influence adolescent drinking, but not always how you might expect

Related Stories

Peers influence adolescent drinking, but not always how you might expect

April 16, 2012
Drinking during adolescence has both short- and long-term negative health consequences. Prior research has shown that peer influence is one of the most important predictors of alcohol use in adolescence. This study used a ...

Teenage alcohol consumption associated with computer use

May 9, 2011
Teenagers who drink alcohol spend more time on their computers for recreational use, including social networking and downloading and listening to music, compared with their peers who don't drink.

Study shows long-term drug abuse starts with alcohol

July 11, 2012
(Medical Xpress) -- Alcohol — not marijuana — is the gateway drug that leads adolescents down the path toward more serious substances, a new University of Florida study shows.

Many teens drinking, taking drugs during school: survey

August 22, 2012
(HealthDay) -- Ninety percent of American high school students report that some of their classmates are using illicit drugs, including alcohol and tobacco, during the school day, a new survey found.

Teens who smoke and drink may be more likely to abuse prescription opioids later

August 21, 2012
(Medical Xpress) -- Adolescents who smoke cigarettes or use alcohol or marijuana may be at greater risk for subsequent abuse of prescription opioids as young adults, according to a new study by Yale School of Medicine.

Hookah smoking increasingly common among first-year college women

July 18, 2012
Nearly a quarter of college women try smoking tobacco with a hookah, or water pipe, for the first time during their freshman year, according to new research from The Miriam Hospital's Center for Behavioral and Preventive ...

Recommended for you

Marijuana use amongst youth stable, but substance abuse admissions up

August 15, 2017
While marijuana use amongst youth remains stable, youth admission to substance abuse treatment facilities has increased, according to new research from Binghamton University, State University of New York.

Report reveals underground US haven for heroin, drug users

August 8, 2017
A safe haven where drug users inject themselves with heroin and other drugs has been quietly operating in the United States for the past three years, a report reveals.

Regular energy drink use linked to later drug use among young adults

August 8, 2017
Could young adults who regularly consume highly caffeinated energy drinks be at risk for future substance use? A new study by University of Maryland School of Public Health researchers, published in the journal Drug and Alcohol ...

Gamblers more likely to have suffered childhood traumas, research shows

August 2, 2017
Men with problem and pathological gambling addictions are more likely to have suffered childhood traumas including physical abuse or witnessing violence in the home, according to new research.

Incorporating 12-step program elements improves youth substance-use disorder treatment

July 26, 2017
A treatment program for adolescents with substance-use disorder that incorporates the practices and philosophy of 12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) produced even better results than the current state-of-the ...

Concern with potential rise in super-potent cannabis concentrates

July 21, 2017
University of Queensland researchers are concerned the recent legalisation of medicinal cannabis in Australia may give rise to super-potent cannabis concentrates with associated harmful effects.

0 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.