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Influences of group Identity on Smoking, Alcohol, and Drug Use. Kirsten Verkooijen, Ph.D. student Dep. of Health Promotion Research University of Southern Denmark Esbjerg Gert A. Nielsen, Ph.D. Dep. of Prevention and Documentation Danish Cancer Society Copenhagen. Adolescence.

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influences of group identity on smoking alcohol and drug use
Influences of group Identity on Smoking, Alcohol, and Drug Use

Kirsten Verkooijen, Ph.D. student

Dep. of Health Promotion Research

University of Southern Denmark

Esbjerg

Gert A. Nielsen, Ph.D.

Dep. of Prevention and Documentation

Danish Cancer Society

Copenhagen

adolescence
Adolescence
  • Increased engagement in risk behaviour
  • Increased affiliation with peers

Focus of this study:

How is adolescents’ engagement in smoking, hash and alcohol use related to group membership?

group membership
Group membership
  • Subculture: a social group within a national culture that has distinctive patterns of behavior and beliefs (hyperdictionary)
  • Related terms: peer group, crowd, youth culture, clique, etc.
  • Function of peer groups (Urberg):
    • Source of identity
    • Channel for friendship selection
the balanced identity design greenwald et al 2002
The balanced Identity Design(Greenwald et al., 2002)
  • Reciprocal associations between the self, group and behaviour:
    • Self - Group
    • Group - Behaviour
    • Behaviour - Self
  • People tend to keep the 3 associations balanced!

Self

Group

Behavior

Greenwald, A.G., Banaji, M.R., Rudman, L.A., Farnham, S.D., Nosek, B.A., Mellott, D.S. (2002). A unified theory of implicit attitudes, stereotypes, self-esteem, and self-concept. Psychological Review, 109, 3-25.

data collection
Data collection
  • When: November 2002
  • What: MULD (Monitoring of Young people’s Lifestyle and Everyday life) survey conducted by The Danish Cancer Society and Danish Board of Health
  • Who: 3956 Danes in the age of 16-20 completed the posted questionnaire (response-rate 60%)
self report meassures
Self-report meassures
  • Items on smoking, alcohol and drug use
  • Group identity items: ’would you agree if a friend called you [...]?’
  • Perceived group behaviour items: ’how likely is a member of [...] to smoke/use hash?’
  • 9 group names, based on prior discussions with the target population, were provided: sporty, pop boy/girl, hip-hopper/skater, bodybuilder, quiet boy/girl, techno freak, computer nerd, religious, hippie.
  • Answers were given on a 5-point scale
results
Results
  • The data analysis included only subjects with 1 single group affiliation (N=1444; 38,3% of the original sample)

sporty (n=608) pop (n=160) skate/hiphop (n=61) quiet (n=296) techno (n=45) religious (n=60) hippie (n=136) computer nerds (n=59)

  • Bodybuilders (n=19) were left out as their sample was too small
results for smoking 1
Results for smoking_1

General smoking prevalence: 31,8% (boys: 32,2%; girls: 31,5%)

Fig. 1: Smoking prevalence (%) by group membership

results for smoking 2
Results for smoking_2

Fig. 2: Perceived smoking among own group (1=very unlikely; 5=very likely) by group membership

results for smoking 3
Results for smoking_3

Fig. 3: Smoking prevalence (%) by perceived smoking among own group

results for smoking 4
Results for smoking_4

Table 1: Logistic regression odds ratios for smoking

**p< .001, *p< .05

results for hash 1
Results for hash_1

General last month hash use prevalence: 10,5% (boys: 17,0%; girls: 6,4%)

Fig. 4: Last month hash use prevalence (%) by group membership

results for hash 2
Results for hash_2

Fig. 5: Perceived group hash use (1=very unlikely; 5= very likely) by group membership

results for hash 3
Results for hash_3

Fig. 6: % hash users (last month) by perceived group hash use

results for hash 4
Results for hash_4

Table 2: Logistic regression odds ratios for hash use

**p< .001, *p< .05

results for alcohol 1
Results for alcohol_1

General last month drunkeness prevalence: 68,3% (boys: 74,8%; girls: 64,3%)

Fig. 7: % been drunk (last month) by group membership

results for alcohol 2
Results for alcohol_2

Table 3: Logistic regression odds ratios for last month drunkenness

**p< .001, *p< .05

summary results
Summary results
  • Group membership related to all 3 risk behaviours
  • Results showed 4 ’high-risk’ groups and 4 ’low-risk’ groups. This distinction was most evident for smoking and least evident for alcohol
  • Group perception related strongly to personal behaviour

Significant lower risk Significant higher risk

discussion 1
Discussion (1)

Possible implications for health promotion:

  • tailored activities to specific identity groups
  • focus on undesirable group perceptions

…however some essential questions are still unsolved…

discussion 2
Discussion (2)

Unsolved questions:

  • What underlies the different groups, what is the deeper meaning of risk behaviour to each group?
  • High-risk groups more outgoing/more in contact with peers?
  • How stable are group memberships over time?
  • What are the directions of the observed relationships?
  • Can group perceptions be manipulated?
conclusion
Conclusion

... more research is needed

especially a longitudinal study may provide useful information..

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