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It takes a village to keep teens substance free
Date:5/1/2012

students during the spring semester, and then again the following spring semester. The students came from 27 different rural school districts in Pennsylvania and Iowa, all participating in the Promoting School-university-community Partnerships to Enhance Resilience (PROSPER) study. In ninth grade, the researchers asked the students to name five of their closest friends. The researchers identified social networks within the schools by matching up the mutually exclusive friendships. Overall, the researchers identified 897 different friendship groups, with an average of 10 to 11 students in each group.

At that time students also answered questions about their perceptions of how much their parents knew about where they were and who they were with. They were also asked about the consistency of their parents' discipline. In the tenth-grade follow-up, students responded to questions about their substance use habits, specifically their use of alcohol, cigarettes and marijuana.

Behaviors of friends' parents influenced substance use even when taking into account the effects of the teens' own parents' behaviors and their friends' substance use, demonstrating the powerful effect of peers on adolescent behavior.

"I think that it empowers parents to know that not only can they have an influence on their own children, but they can also have a positive influence on their children's friends as well," said Cleveland. "And that by acting together -- the notion of 'it takes a village' -- can actually result in better outcomes for adolescents."


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Contact: Victoria M. Indivero
vmi1@psu.edu
814-865-9481
Penn State
Source:Eurekalert

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