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Classroom Norms and Individual Smoking Behavior in Middle School

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Abstract:

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.

Keywords: GENDER; MIDDLE SCHOOL; SMOKING; SOCIAL NORMS

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5993/AJHB.36.1.2

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: h.shelton.brown@uth.tmc.edu 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.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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