With a Little Help from My Friends? Asymmetrical Social Influence on Adolescent Smoking Initiation and Cessation

Steven A. Haas, Pennsylvania State University
David Schaefer, Arizona State University

The current study examines the impact of asymmetrical peer influence on adolescent smoking behavior while accounting for endogenous peer selection. Using data from National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health we implement a stochastic actor-based model of the coevolution of smoking and social networks and estimate differential peer influence effects on increases and decreases in smoking. We find that among adolescents the impact of peer influence is much stronger for the initiation of smoking than on cessation. We find that to the extent that adolescents exert a significant influence on the smoking behavior of their peers they do so primarily to increase levels of smoking.

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Presented in Session 99: Spatial Analysis and Network Analysis