The Influences of Friends' and Parental Smoking on Adolescent Smoking Behavior: The Effects of Time and Prior Smoking1


  • 1

    Collection of data for this research was supported by grant #R01-DA0348, and the analyses reported here were completed with support from grant #R01-DA06307, both from the National Institute of Drug Abuse.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Brian R. Flay, Prevention Research Center (M/C 275), University of Illinois at Chicago, 850 West Jackson Boulevard, Suite 400, Chicago, IL 60607–3025.


This research examines the relative importance of parental and friends' influences on adolescents' smoking behavior and changes in the effects of social influences during adolescence. Data were collected at 4 times from 7th to 9th grades. Random-effects ordinal regression models were employed to predict the repeated classification of adolescent smoking status using time effects, prior smoking status, friends' smoking, and parental smoking. In general, the effects of friends' smoking are stronger than those of parental smoking, and these differences increase over time. In addition, friends' smoking has greater effects on nonsmokers than smokers. Separate models for males and females disclose some gender differences. In particular, the effects of friends' smoking are stronger for females than for males, and the increasing trend of friends' influences is more noticeable for females than for males. Models for 4 ethnic groups also suggest differential susceptibility to social influences in different cultures.