Carmen Voogt

Voogt, C. V., Larsen, H., Poelen, E. A. P., Kleinjan, M., & Engels, R. C. M. E. (2013). Longitudinal associations between descriptive and injunctive norms of youngsters and heavy drinking and problem drinking in late adolescence. Journal of Substance Use, 18(4), 275-287.

Cross-sectionally, social norms are related to heavy and problem drinking in late adolescence. A better understanding is needed regarding the longitudinal associations between social norms in younger populations and heavy and problem drinking over time. This study distinguished between descriptive (proximal reference group) and injunctive norms (proximal and distal reference groups). This study evaluated the perception of social norms in youngsters during early adolescence (13–15 years) and the contribution of these norms to heavy and problem drinking over a 4-year period. Adolescents (N ¼ 428; 205 boys) participated in a prospective study with 5 annual waves. Regression analyses were conducted to examine whether descriptive and injunctive norms prospectively predict heavy and problem drinking. Descriptive and injunctive norms of the proximal, but not the distal reference group, predicted heavy drinking in late adolescence. Descriptive norms of the proximal reference group also predicted problem drinking in late adolescence. This study demonstrates the role of social norms in the prediction of heavy and problem drinking over time. Additionally, it illustrates the contribution of proximal rather than distal reference peers to heavy and problem drinking in late adolescence, and it suggests the relevance of targeting these norms in prevention research.

Carmen Voogt