Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Notebook

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Notebook

Article excerpt

Loners Drawn To Smoking? Peer pressure may not be as much of a factor in teen-age smoking these days as was thought, according to a study in the current Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

The study looked at students at five high schools and ranked subjects according to their involvement or identification with social groups, or cliques. It found that teen-age smokers were more likely to be socially isolated than nonsmokers.

In fact, since the vast majority of teen-agers studied were nonsmokers, peer pressure tended to work against lighting up.

"We focused on cigarette smoking as the behavior of interest, but our findings may generalize to other drugs as well, such as to alcohol and marijuana," wrote two North Carolina scientists, Susan T. Ennett of the Center for Social Research and Analysis, and Karl E. Bauman of the University of North Carolina.

"Cigarette smoking among adolescents is widely attributed to peer group influence," they wrote, which is why many smoking-prevention programs are targeted to combat peer pressure. "It could be that smoking is a result of social isolation. Perhaps isolates have social inadequacies, and smoking is a coping mechanism." Philadelphia Inquirer

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Complications From Pain

Severe pain after major surgery remains a big, unrecognized problem that causes serious complications such as delirium, according to the results of a Harvard Medical School study.

A study of 352 patients who underwent a variety of surgical procedures found that nearly one in 10 developed delirium in the first three days after surgery, said Dr. Eileen P. Lynch of Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard.

Intense postsurgical pain can also cause longer hospital stays, pneumonia, a weakened immune system, heart problems and blood clots, she reported at the annual meeting of the American Society of Anesthesiologists in San Francisco. …

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