The relationship of adolescent perceptions of peer norms and parent involvement to cigarette and alcohol use

R. Scott Olds, Dennis L. Thombs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

86 Scopus citations


This investigation assessed the relative influence of peer norms and parental involvement on adolescent cigarette and alcohol use. An anonymous questionnaire was administered to 2,017 seventh-to 12th-grade students in two Ohio public school districts. Cigarette and alcohol use rates in the sample were comparable to those found in national probability surveys. Results indicated that the relative balance of peer-parent influences did not differ across grade level. At all grade levels, perceived peer norms had substantially greater correlations with cigarette and alcohol use than did measures of perceived parental involvement. The findings are interpreted from an efficiency perspective. Optimal use of prevention resources suggest that programming for seventh-to 12th-graders should focus on shaping the perceptions of peer smoking and drinking practices rather than on parent interventions. Social norms marketing or other forms of normative education should be tested in this population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)223-228
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of School Health
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2001


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