Document Type



Community and Global Health (CGU)

Publication Date



Substance Abuse and Addiction


The study of moderators and higher-order effects of social influences on drug use has many implications for theories of health behavior. In the present study, we investigated the longitudinal predictive effects of some of the prominent moderator variables that represent forms of susceptibility toward social influence in teenage drug use. We also studied the possibility that social influence may predict drug use in nonlinear (quadratic) forms, consistent with theories proposing that threshold or decelerating effects may occur in social influences on normatively sanctioned behaviors. Results showed that several of the interactive and quadratic predictive effects were significant. The findings supported the views that certain moderator variables act as buffers, which either protect the individual from social pressures to use drugs, or make the individual more susceptible to such pressures. In addition, two of the obtained quadratic effects of social influence lent support to the application of social impact theory to drug use. Overall, our findings suggest that interactive and nonlinear approaches to social influences on drug use provide a unique and viable theoretical perspective from which to construe this problem health behavior.

Rights Information

© 1992 American Sociological Association