Descriptive norms influence alcohol use among high-school students: a social norms study from Istanbul
AuthorSönmez Güngör, Ekin
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CitationSönmez Güngör E., Tunca D., Çelebi C., Gündüz A., Karaer G., Kandemir G., Akvardar Y. (2022). Descriptive norms influence alcohol use among high-school students: a social norms study from Istanbul. Journal of Substance Use. 27(1). ss. 91-97. Taylor and Francis. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/14659891.2021.1900429
ABSTRACT Background The social norms approach, which explores the influence of peer norms on health-compromising behaviors in youth, has been found to be effective in the prevention of drug and alcohol use. Our purpose was to identify the influence of peer norms on the tobacco, alcohol and drug use of high-school students. Methods A sample of high school students in Istanbul were surveyed for their use of tobacco, alcohol and cannabis use. Sociodemographic variables, academic performance, daily life activities, descriptive and injunctive norms among students were assessed and relevant factors were evaluated using descriptive statistics and logistic regression models. Results 213 students (105 males, 108 females, mean age 16.04 ± 0.96) filled in the questionnaire completely. The lifetime prevalence of tobacco and alcohol use were 29.9% and 30.9%, respectively. Higher perceived rates of peer alcohol use (descriptive norms) predicted higher lifetime alcohol use (OR: 1.17, 95% CI [1.11– 1.38], p = .04). Recent and lifetime use of tobacco significantly predicted recent and lifetime alcohol use (OR: 5.68, 95%CI [2.56–14.28], p < .01; OR: 9.60; 95%CI [3.09–29.89], p < .01). Conclusions We found that students’ misperceptions about higher peer alcohol use facilitated their own alcohol use. Correcting such misperceptions can contribute to preventive measures in youth.