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Cigarette Smoking, Friendship Factors, and Social Norm Perceptions Among Central and Eastern European High School Students

NCJ Number
Journal of Drug Education Volume: 36 Issue: 3 Dated: 2006 Pages: 213-231
Randy M. Page Ph.D.; Ferenc Ihasz; Jaromir Simonek; Renata Klarova; Iacob Hantiu
Date Published
19 pages
This study investigated the relationship between cigarette smoking, friendship factors, and social norm perceptions among Central-Eastern European high school students in Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic, and Romania.
Results indicated that cigarette smoking among Central-Eastern European high school students was related to having friends who smoked, ease or difficulty making new friends, time spent with friends after school and during evenings, and estimations of the prevalence of smoking by schoolmates. The smoking prevalence among the sample was significantly higher than among high school samples in Australia, Italy, Ireland, Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom, although it was similar to the smoking prevalence found in other studies of Central-Eastern European high school students. Other findings revealed that smoking among Central-Eastern European adolescents was related to sociability and that those students who reported the most ease in making new friends were the most likely to smoke. The typical perceptions among the sample were that most schoolmates were current smokers. The findings confirm the need for enhanced smoking prevention programs in primary and secondary schools as well as community-based health promotion programs. These programs should consider a range of influencing factors, including psychosocial factors. Participants were 1,886 high school students from 22 schools in Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic, and Romania. Questionnaires, which focused on cigarette smoking status, friendship factors, and social normative perceptions, were administered by teachers during class time. Chi-square and ANOVA tests were used to examine the relationship between cigarette smoking, friendship factors, and social norm perceptions. Future research should continue to investigate the relationship between friendships and social norm perceptions as key influences of smoking behavior among Central and Eastern European adolescents. Tables, references


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