Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Friends' Facebook, Myspace photos affect risky behavior among teens

03.09.2013
USC public health researchers examine how online social network activities influence smoking, alcohol use

Teenagers who see friends smoking and drinking alcohol in photographs posted on Facebook and Myspace are more likely to smoke and drink themselves, according to a new study from the University of Southern California (USC).

"Our study shows that adolescents can be influenced by their friends' online pictures to smoke or drink alcohol," said Thomas W. Valente, Ph.D., professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC and the study's principal investigator. "To our knowledge, this is the first study to apply social network analysis methods to examine how teenagers' activities on online social networking sites influence their smoking and alcohol use."

The study appears in the Sept. 3, 2013, online edition of the Journal of Adolescent Health.

Valente and his team surveyed 1,563 10th-grade students from the El Monte Union High School District in Los Angeles County in October 2010 and April 2011 about their online and offline friendship networks and the frequency of their social media use, smoking and alcohol consumption. At the time of the study, El Monte was the ninth largest city in the county, with a population of about 113,500.

The researchers found that the size of one's online network of friends was not significantly associated with risky behavior. Exposure to friends' online pictures of partying or drinking, however, was significantly associated with both smoking and alcohol use. Teens whose close friends did not drink alcohol were more likely to be affected by increasing exposure to risky online pictures.

"The evidence suggests that friends' online behaviors are a viable source of peer influence," said Grace C. Huang, Ph.D., MPH, a graduate of the Keck School of Medicine of USC's Health Behavior Research program and the study's first and corresponding author. "This is important to know, given that 95 percent of 12 to 17 year olds in the United States access the Internet every day, and 80 percent of those youth use online social networking sites to communicate."

Students who responded to the survey were evenly distributed across gender and on average 15 years old. About two-thirds were Hispanic/Latino and about one-fourth were Asian, which closely reflects the ethnic distribution of El Monte. In April 2011, nearly 30 percent of respondents had smoked and more than half had at least one drink of alcohol. Roughly one-third of students reported having at least one friend who smoked and/or consumed alcohol.

Almost half of all students reported visiting Facebook and Myspace regularly. Between October 2010 and April 2011, Facebook use (75 percent) increased while Myspace use (13 percent) decreased. On average, 34 percent of students had at least one friend who talked about partying online and 20 percent reported that their friends posted party/drinking pictures online.

In line with earlier studies, the researchers observed differences between Facebook and Myspace users. Facebook-only users had higher grades, spoke more English at home and were more likely to have a higher socio-economic status. They were less likely to be Hispanic and less likely to have ever smoked or drank alcohol. While Facebook use did not seem to affect smoking or drinking, the study found that higher levels of Myspace use was associated with higher levels of drinking.

Further research might examine how online and offline friendships differ in terms of activities and interactions they have with each other, Huang said.

"Little is known about how social media use affects adolescent health behaviors," said Huang, who now is a post-doctoral fellow at the National Cancer Institute. "Our study suggests that it may be beneficial to teach teens about the harmful effects of posting risky behaviors online and how those displays can hurt their friends."

The study was supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (1RC1AA019239-01) and National Cancer Institute (T32 CA-009492028). Co-authors include Jennifer B. Unger, Ph.D.; Daniel Soto, MPH; Kayo Fujimoto, Ph.D.; Mary Ann Pentz, Ph.D.; and Maryalice Jordan-Marsh, Ph.D.

Article cited:

Huang, G.C., Unger, J.B., Soto, D., Fujimoto, K., Pentz, M.A., Jordan-Marsh, M., & Valente, T.W. (2013). Peer influences: The impact of online and offline friendship networks on adolescent smoking and alcohol use. Journal of Adolescent Health. Published online Sept. 3, 2013; doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2013.07.001

ABOUT KECK MEDICINE OF USC

Keck Medicine of USC is the University of Southern California's medical enterprise, one of only two university-owned academic medical centers in the Los Angeles area. Encompassing academic, research and clinical entities, it consists of the Keck School of Medicine of USC, one of the top medical schools in Southern California; the renowned USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, one of the first comprehensive cancer centers established in the United States; the USC Care faculty practice; the Keck Medical Center of USC, which includes two acute care hospitals: 411-bed Keck Hospital of USC and 60-bed USC Norris Cancer Hospital; and USC Verdugo Hills Hospital, a 158-bed community hospital. It also includes outpatient facilities in Beverly Hills, downtown Los Angeles, La Cañada Flintridge, Pasadena, and the USC University Park campus. USC faculty physicians and Keck School of Medicine departments also have practices throughout Los Angeles, Orange and Riverside counties.

Alison Trinidad | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.usc.edu

Further reports about: Adolescent Cancer Facebook Medicine MySpace alcohol use health services media use social network

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)

nachricht Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

DGIST develops 20 times faster biosensor

24.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Nanoimprinted hyperlens array: Paving the way for practical super-resolution imaging

24.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Atomic-level motion may drive bacteria's ability to evade immune system defenses

24.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>