Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects

Department

Psychological Sciences

Additional Departmental Affiliation

Sociology

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

Evidence shows that peer pressure is a strong indicator of juvenile substance use. Oetting and Beauvais (1986) determined that the Peer Cluster Theory was a common phenomenon in which adolescents tend to share the same opinions on substance use as their friends do, namely that juveniles who had friends that abused substances were likely to abuse substances themselves. The present study sought to determine if this phenomenon was true for adolescents in Medellín, Columbia. Data was collected on participants’ demographics, their opinions of their community, their relationship to their families and friends, how they spend their time each week, and their use of drugs. It was hypothesized that peer pressure (negative peer influence) would be the strongest predictor of juvenile substance use. In a multi-variate regression model, the strongest factors affecting juvenile substance abuse were age, parental monitoring, street code, time spent home alone, time spent with friends, and time spent participating in an organized sport or other after school activity F(14,1214) = 39.136, p = .000. Based on these results, it appears that peer influence follows an opportunity process rather than the normative/socialization route more commonly theorized in the literature. While this finding fails to accept the null hypothesis in this study, the outcome does support findings from Haynie and Osgood (2005) and their focus on peer influence as channeled through opportunity.

Advisor(s) or Committee Chair

Dr. Holli Drummond, Dr. John Dizgun, Prof. Susann Davis

Disciplines

Criminology | Psychology | Sociology

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