No smoke without fire: The impact of future friends on adolescent smoking behaviour
Article first published online: 12 JAN 2011
©2010 The British Psychological Society
British Journal of Health Psychology
Volume 16, Issue 1, pages 170–188, February 2011
How to Cite
Mercken, L., Candel, M., van Osch, L. and de Vries, H. (2011), No smoke without fire: The impact of future friends on adolescent smoking behaviour. British Journal of Health Psychology, 16: 170–188. doi: 10.1348/135910710X531608
- Issue published online: 12 JAN 2011
- Article first published online: 12 JAN 2011
- Received 4 May 2010; revised version received 23 August 2010
Objective. This study examined the impact of future friends and the contribution of different social influence and selection processes in predicting adolescents' smoking behaviour by extending the theory of planned behaviour (TPB). We investigated the impact of previous smoking, direct pressure from friends, descriptive norms of present and future friends, smoking-based selection of future friends, and distinguished between reciprocal and desired friends.
Design. A longitudinal design with three measurements was used.
Methods. The sample consisted of 1,475 Dutch high school students (mean age = 12.7 years) that participated as a control group in the European Smoking prevention Framework Approach study at three measurements.
Results. Structural equation modelling revealed that adolescent smoking was influenced by intention, previous smoking, descriptive norms of parents and siblings, and that desired as well as reciprocal friends were selected based on similar smoking behaviour. Future friends indirectly influenced adolescent smoking through intention, as did attitude, subjective norms of parents and siblings, previous smoking, and descriptive norms of reciprocal friends and siblings.
Conclusions. The present results suggest that descriptive norms and selection of friends need to be considered as major factors explaining smoking behaviour among adolescents besides the TPB components. These insights contribute to the further refinement of smoking prevention strategies.