Peer Influence on Adolescent Drug Use: A Perspective From the Trenches of Experimental Evaluation Research

Document Type



Community and Global Health (CGU)

Publication Date



Health Psychology | Substance Abuse and Addiction


Association with drug using peers is often found to be one of the strongest predictors (risk factors) of adolescent drug use (Hawkins, Catalano, & Miller, 1992). Despite the strength and consistency of this finding, Bauman and Ennett (September 1994) argued that the power of peer influence on adolescent drug use is exaggerated. They asserted that empirical support of peer influence on adolescent drug use derives largely from the correlation between reports of friends' drug use and self-reported drug use. Bauman and Ennett implied that the role of drug use in friendship formation (selection) and attributions of one's own behavior to the behavior of friends (projection) account largely for this correlation and that school-based prevention efforts based on peer or social influence models are misguided. The purpose of this comment is to briefly examine the arguments made by Bauman and Ennett in light of experimental evidence for the effects of school-based drug prevention programs based on the social influence model.

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© 1995 American Psychological Association