Academic journal article Gender & Behaviour

Parental and Peer Factors as Predictors of Cigarette Smoking among Secondary School Adolescents in Southwestern Nigeria

Academic journal article Gender & Behaviour

Parental and Peer Factors as Predictors of Cigarette Smoking among Secondary School Adolescents in Southwestern Nigeria

Article excerpt

Introduction

Adolescence is clearly a sensitive time period in the onset of cigarette smoking. More than onethird of high school students smoke at least once a month and 17% smoke a cigarette almost every day. In fact, by the age of 18 years, approximately two-thirds of teenagers have tried smoking with peak experimentation occurring between the ages of 13 and 16 years (Duncan, Tildesley, Duncan and Hops, 1995). Peers and peer relationships have been cited frequently as major factors involved in this cigarette use (Friedman, Lichtenstein and Biglan, 2005). There is a substantial body of research suggesting that the lines of friendship are often characterized by smoking behaviour, where smokers befriend smokers, and non-smokers befriend other nonsmokers (Urberg, Degirmencioglu and Pilgrim, 1997). Non-smokers who affiliate with smokers have been found to be at greater likelihood for transitioning to tobacco use than youth without smoking friends (Urberg, Degirmencioglu and Pilgrim, 1997). Consistent with the adage that 'birds of a feather flock together', research suggests that teenagers belong to friendship groups with others who are similar to themselves. Similarities between youth, also known as friendship homophily, have been observed across a host of characteristics, including gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, attitudes, normative beliefs, school performance, cigarette smoking, alcohol and drug use, engagement in deviant behaviour and sexual behaviour (Kerckhoff and Davis, 2002). Ostensible characteristics, such as sex and race, and those that facilitate physical proximity, such as age and grade in school, have been found to serve as a primary filter for friendship selection and peer group formation (Kerckhoff and Davis, 2002). Behaviours, such as drug use, have been identified as the next most important dimension for group formation. This is followed by similarities in attitudes, such as academic aspirations and interests, participation in peer activities, and lastly by psychological states (Kandel, 2008). The similarities that exist within a friendship dyad often originate prior to the initial contact between future friends (Cohen, 2003).

Peer factor is the behaviour of students that were caused by the type of peers or friends that individual move with. Kandel (2008) found correlation between targeted adolescents and their friends on demo graphic and behavioural variables. Variables that were correlated most highly were viewed as reflecting the greatest similarity between friendship pairs, and considered important dimensions of friendship formation. Peer pressure is a phenomenon that exists for all ages. In Nigeria, the phenomenon indicates high prevalence of tobacco use (Adeyemo, 2007). Findings from the research presented above highlight the importance of both selection and influence processes in the similarities that are observed between friends on smoking, as well as other behaviours. In Nigeria, there are evidences of tobacco use on road verges, motor parks as well as restaurants, bars and hangouts where adolescents converge on daily basis to use tobacco and indulge in binge drinking. Fatiregun and Yisa (2009), conducted a study on influence and selection in the friend-adolescent relationship among secondary school students in a military school in Ibadan in the South-West part of Nigeria. The result indicated that 6.3 percent and 10.6 percent of the respondents showed a positive attitude towards acceptance of substance. Also, Aina and Olorunshola (2008) carried out a research work on peer influence on adolescent drug use. It was discovered that there was an increasing trend in substance use among adolescents and young adults. In addition, cross-sectional studies examining the correlation between peer and adolescent smoking have been found to produce spuriously inflated estimates of influence, due to the reciprocal causal relationship between friend and adolescent behaviour (Bauman and Ennett, 1996). …

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