Adolescents’ media-related cognitions and substance use in the context of parental and peer influences
Scull, T. M., Kupersmidt, J. B., Parker, A. E., Elmore, K. C., & Benson, J. W. (2009). Adolescents’ media-related cognitions and substance use in the context of parental and peer influences. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 39(9), 981-998. doi:10.1007/s10964-009-9455-3
Objectives: Investigate media influences on adolescents’ substance use and intentions to use substances in the context of exposure to parental and peer risk and protective factors.
Methods: A total of 729 middle school students (n = 351, 59% female in Study 1, n = 378, 43% female in Study 2) completed self-report questionnaires.
Results: Identification with and perceived similarity to media messages were positively associated with adolescents’ current substance use and intentions to use substances in the future, and critical thinking about media messages and media message deconstruction skills were negatively associated with adolescents’ intention to use substances in the future. Further, peer influence variables (e.g., peer pressure, social norms, peer substance use) acted as risk factors, and for the most part, parental influence variables (e.g., parental pressure to not use, perceived parental reaction) acted as protective factors.
Conclusions: Media messages play a role in predicting adolescents’ current alcohol or tobacco use and intentions to use alcohol or tobacco products in the future. Multiple factors influence decision-making and developmental processes need to be empirically examined using a broad contextual lens in order to more effectively understand and prevent adolescent risky health behaviors.