American Sociological Association

Smoking Diffusion through Networks of Diverse, Urban American Adolescents over the High School Period

This study uses recent data to investigate if smoking initiation diffuses through friendship networks over the high school period and explores if diffusion processes differ across schools. One thousand four hundred and twenty-five racially and ethnically diverse youth from four high schools in Los Angeles were surveyed four times over the high school period from 2010 to 2013. Probit regression models and stochastic actor-based models for network dynamics tested for peer effects on smoking initiation. Friend smoking was found to predict adolescent smoking, and smoking initiation diffused through friendship networks in some but not all of the schools. School differences in smoking rates and the popularity of smokers may be linked to differences in the diffusion of smoking through peer networks. We conclude that there are differences in peer effects on smoking initiation across schools that will be important to account for in network-based smoking interventions.


Kayla de la Haye, Heesung Shin, George G. Vega Yon, and Thomas W. Valente





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