Theories of social influence on adolescent and young adult alcohol use

Melissa A. Lewis, Clayton Neighbors, Kristen P. Lindgren, Kaitlin G. Buckingham, Melissa Hoang

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

1 Scopus citations


An extensive literature has demonstrated that many adolescents and young adultsengage in drinking behavior, resulting in acute and chronic negative consequences (e.g.,unintentional injuries, arguments, unplanned and/or unprotected sexual activities, troublewith police/authorities, poor academic/work performance, suicide, and death), andalcohol dependence. Social influence is foremost among the causes attributed to theinitiation and maintenance of alcohol use during this period. This chapter reviews anumber of prominent theories of social influence that are directly relevant to drinkingbehavior among adolescents and young adults. For each theory, a brief description isprovided, followed by relevant research related to adolescent and young adult drinking. Theoretical implications for preventative interventions are also discussed. Highlightedtheories include: social learning theory, social cognitive theory, alcohol expectancytheory, problem behavior theory, social comparison theory, social identity theory, selfderogationtheory, the theory of reasoned action, the theory of planned behavior,prototype willingness model, deviance regulation theory, peer cluster theory, andreactance theory.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSocial Drinking
Subtitle of host publicationUses, Abuses and Psychological Factors
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages40
ISBN (Print)9781608762194
StatePublished - 2009


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