Harald Beier
Situational Peer Effects on Adolescents' Alcohol Consumption

Thinking About Context: Challenges for Crime and Justice. 68th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Criminology, Chicago, IL, November 14th, 2012

Adolescents´ alcohol consumption is similar to that of their peer group. As experimental evidence shows that adolescents adapt their drinking behavior to the drinking behavior of other persons in the setting, situational influence processes might be at least partly responsible for peer similarity in alcohol consumption. Two action-theoretic approaches, Situational Action Theory (Wikström 2006, 2010) and the Model of Frame Selection (Kroneberg 2006, 2011) are used to derive theoretical expectations regarding four main questions. First, does adolescents´ alcohol consumption mainly take place while in the presence of peers? Second, do adolescents show similar drinking behavior to their peers in any setting or only when they are with their peers? Third, are situational peer effects moderated by other setting characteristics like supervision or activity structure? Forth, are situational peer effects moderated by adolescents´ internalized moral norms? Hypotheses are tested applying multilevel modeling to the unique space-time budget data collected by the Peterborough Adolescent and Young Adult Development Study (PADS+). In line with theoretical expectations, results support the notion of situational peer effects on adolescents´ alcohol consumption as well as the moderating role of setting characteristics and internalized moral norms.