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Classroom Norms and Individual Smoking Behavior in Middle School

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Objectives: To investigate whether smoking prevalence in grade-level networks influences individual smoking, suggesting that peers are important social multipliers in teen smoking. Methods: We measured gender-specific, grade-level recent and life-time smoking among urban middle-school students who participated in Project Northland Chicago in a longitudinal cohort design. Results: Within schools, grade-level recent smoking had comparable effects on girls' and boys' individual-level smoking. Grade-level lifetime smoking had a greater effect on girls' smoking. Conclusion: Interventions can target middle school classes and schools broadly, without making the identification of friendship networks a concern.


Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Postdoctoral Research Associate, Department of Psychology, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 2: Associate Professor, University of Texas School of Public Health, Austin Regional Campus, Division of Management, Policy, and Community Health, University of Texas, Austin, TX;, Email: 3: Assistant Professor, Department of Kinesiology and Health Education, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 4: Professor and Regional Dean, University of Texas School of Public Health, Austin Regional Campus, Austin, TX 5: Professor, Department of Health Outcomes, & Policy and Institute for Child Health Policy, College of Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL

Publication date: January 1, 2012

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  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

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