Under Pressure: A Daily Diary Study of Online Social Influence and Youth Substance Use
Alcohol and marijuana are widely used by youths across the U.S. [Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 2023], and youths’ use of such substances comes with a myriad of consequences (e.g., increased risk for long-term substance abuse; Griffin et al., 2019). Social influence is one process through which youths may develop positive attitudes towards substance use (Steinberg & Monahan, 2007), but there is a dearth of research on how such influence operates within the online environment. The present study sought to examine associations between daily social media use and youths’ daily attitudes towards alcohol and marijuana use—as well as how these associations vary based on poster characteristics, developmental characteristics, and post valence—in a sample of youths aged 14 to 20 years old (Mage = 18.2 years) with a history of past-month substance use. Multilevel models revealed that the associations between daily social media use and daily attitudes towards alcohol and marijuana use depended on developmental characteristics. Among younger participants, more time spent on social media was related to more positive attitudes towards alcohol use; among older participants, more time spent on social media was instead related to more negative attitudes towards alcohol use (β = -0.002, R2 = .12). Further, among those with low susceptibility to peer influence, more time spent on social media was related to more negative attitudes towards marijuana use; among those with high susceptibility to peer influence, this association was reversed (β = -0.004, R2 = .068). The ways in which youths develop attitudes towards substance use may differ depending on the substance in question—with age being important in understanding attitudes towards alcohol use and susceptibility to peer influence being important in understanding attitudes towards marijuana use. Findings from the present study contribute to the present knowledge of online social influence as it relates to antecedents of youths’ engagement in health risk behaviors.
Psychology|Internet and social media studies|Mental health|Public administration
Ziencina, Anna Dmitriyevna, "Under Pressure: A Daily Diary Study of Online Social Influence and Youth Substance Use" (2023). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI30686821.