Soc Psy Rrl Essay

4494 words - 18 pages

The argument for smoking prevention among adolescents is based on the observation that, if smoking does not start during adolescence, it is unlikely ever to occur and on data indicating that the probability of cessation among adults is inversely related to age at initiation. Even infrequent experimental smoking in adolescence significantly increases the risk of adult smoking. Once smoking has begun, cessation is difficult and smoking is likely to be a long-term addiction. For example, it has been estimated that the median cessation age, for those born from 1975 through 1979 who begin smoking in adolescence, is 33 years for men and 37 years for women. Based on a median initiation age of 16 to ...view middle of the document...

There are four theoretical bases that have been used to explain the initiation to and the acquisition of smoking. They include the rational approach as presented by Ajzen and Fishbein, social learning theory as found in the work of Bandura, emphasis on social norms and attitudes as reflected by the research of Jessor and Jessor, and the developmentally oriented affective approach of Rosenberg. All of these explanations have found support in at least some studies; there is thus no one clearly superior model that can be used to explain adolescent smoking. A complication for programme design is that the relevance of different types of variables, and possibly theoretical orientations, appears to vary depending on the stage of acquisition
Findings with regard to peer smoking were more consistent than those for parental smoking. “Peers” have been variously defined as classmates, friends, best friends, opposite or same sex friends, and boyfriends or girlfriends. The influence of best friends has been noted to be greater than that of other good friends which, in turn, was greater than that of peers of the same age. Regardless of the definitionused, however, peer smoking was consistently found to be related to adolescent smoking initiation, maintenance and intentions—for example. Some of the inconsistency in the reported influence of parental smoking on adolescent smoking may reflect whether peer smoking was also examined, because the effect of parental smoking may become non-significant after controlling for peer smoking—for example, ref. It is less the existence of a causal relationship between peer and individual smoking than the direction of that association that has been a matter of debate. It is unclear whether peer influence leads to smoking or whether individuals who smoke tend to seek out other smokers. Peer influence may be modified by group membership: smoking by best friends was found to be related to adolescent smoking for group outsiders but not for group members. This result was supported by the observation of Ennett and Bauman that social isolates were more likely to become smokers. Normative values appear to play a role; different measures of smoking were related to “pressure to smoke” and “pressure not to smoke” but not to actual prevalence of smoking. In addition, adolescent smokers tended to overestimate the prevalence of smoking among peers. The perceived prevalence of adult smoking is less clear; one study found that adolescent smokers overestimated smoking among adults whereas other studies did not. Perceived smoking by friends, however, was reported to be a stronger predictor of cigarette use than friends’ actual use. Some factors may be differentially important at diVerent ages. For example, Santi et al found that “best friend tried smoking” was related to smoking initiation during elementary school and “most of five closest friends tried smoking” was related to smoking initiation during high school. The extent to which the individual is...

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