American Sociological Association

Multiple Dimensions of Peer Effects and Deviance: The Case of Prescription Drug Misuse among Young Adults

Sociological research has demonstrated that peers play a role in patterns of deviance. Yet, examinations of competing mechanisms in continued patterns of deviance are less well developed. We simultaneously examine multiple peer mechanisms of action on prescription drug misuse. Results identify drug sources, peer group norms, and a desire to enhance social experiences as important factors in the frequency of misuse, non-oral administration, and dependence, whereas peer pressure had no effect net of other peer factors. The results emphasize the importance of considering multiple peer mechanisms in shaping deviance, and as such, future scholarly examinations should focus on multiple dimensions of peer effects to fully understand patterns of continuing deviance.


Brian C. Kelly, Mike Vuolo, and Alexandra C. Marin