Dating and substance use in adolescent peer networks: A replication and extension

Derek A. Kreager, Dana L. Haynie, Suellen Hopfer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Aims: The current report examined associations between romantic partner, peer and individual substance use behaviors in a sample of American adolescents. Design: The report used two waves of data (8th and 9th grades) from the Partnerships to Enhance Resilience (PROSPER) intervention project and focused on dating couples and their friends in 54 sampled school-cohorts. Hierarchical logistic regression models examined the associations between friend, partner and friend-of-partner substance use and daters' future drinking and smoking. Setting: Surveys administered in rural Pennsylvania and Iowa secondary schools. Participants: A total of 744 dating couples. Measurements: Student participants completed questionnaires that assessed substance use, background characteristics and dating and friend nominations. Friend, partner and friend-of-partner substance use were assessed at each wave directly from respective reports. Findings: Consistent with a bridging hypothesis, friends-of-partner drinking had a strong and independent association with subsequent drunkenness (b=1.40, P<0.01) and drinking (b=0.82, P<0.01) among daters, and these associations did not vary by gender. A similar association was not observed for smoking, where partner (b=0.77, P<0.01) and direct friends (b=1.19, P<0.05) smoking showed strong and significant associations with future smoking, but friends-of-partner smoking did not (b=-0.44, P>0.10). Conclusion: Romantic partner and peer behaviors have substantially different associations with adolescent drinking and smoking. Intervention efforts aimed at reducing teenage smoking should be aimed at proximal peer and romantic relationships, whereas interventions of teenage drinking should also include the wider circle of indirect friends.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)638-647
Number of pages10
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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