Introduction: Adolescent and young adult binge drinking is strongly associated with perceived social norms and the drinking behavior that occurs within peer networks. The extent to which an individual is influenced by the behavior of others may depend upon that individual’s resistance to peer influence (RPI).
Methods: Students in their first semester of college (N = 1323; 54.7% female, 57% White, 15.1% Hispanic) reported on their own binge drinking, and the perceived binge drinking of up to 10 important peers in the first-year class. Using network autocorrelation models, we investigated cross-sectional relationships between participant’s binge drinking frequency and the perceived and actual binge drinking frequency of important peers. We then tested the moderating role of RPI, expecting that greater RPI would weaken the relationship between perceived and actual peer binge drinking on participant binge drinking.
Results: Perceived and actual peer binge drinking were statistically significant predictors of participant binge drinking frequency in the past month, after controlling for covariates. RPI significantly moderated the association between perceptions of peer binge drinking and participant’s own binge drinking; this association was weaker among participants with higher RPI compared to those with lower RPI. RPI did not interact with the actual binge drinking behavior of network peers.
DiGuiseppi, Graham T.; Meisel, Matthew K.; Balestrieri, Sara G.; Ott, Miles Q.; Cox, Melissa J.; Clark, Melissa A.; and Barnett, Nancy P., "Resistance to Peer influence Moderates the Relationship Between Perceived (But Not Actual) Peer Norms and Binge Drinking in a College Student Social Network" (2018). Statistical and Data Sciences: Faculty Publications, Smith College, Northampton, MA.
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