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      Addictive behaviors and psychological distress among adolescents and emerging adults: A mediating role of peer group identification

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          Abstract

          Objective

          Research suggests the sense of belonging to primary groups functions as an important social resource for youth well-being, but it can be compromised among those dealing with addiction. The current study examined how adolescents' and emerging adults' identification with a primary peer group consisting of friends, mediates the relationship between addictive behaviors and psychological distress.

          Method

          The study utilized demographically balanced survey data on 1200 Finnish participants aged 15 to 25 (mean age 21.29, 50% female). Measures were included for psychological distress, excessive drinking, excessive drug use, excessive gambling, excessive Internet use, and peer group identification.

          Results

          All forms of addictive behaviors had a significant direct relationship with higher psychological distress. Excessive drug use, gambling and Internet use were associated with a weaker identification with a peer group, which predicted higher psychological distress. Contrary to the above findings, excessive drinking was linked to stronger peer group identification, mediating psychological distress downwards.

          Conclusions

          These findings support past research and provide a mediation model explanation onto how weaker social relations add to negative well-being consequences in different addictive behaviors, thus underlining the importance of expanding our understanding of social group outcomes among young individuals.

          Highlights

          • Data from a demographically balanced sample ( N = 1200) of Finnish youths aged 15 to 25.

          • Four different types of addictive behaviors were associated with higher psychological distress.

          • Psychological distress was significantly mediated by social identification to a primary peer group.

          • The mediating role of social identification varied among different addictions.

          Related collections

          Most cited references 45

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          Beyond Homophily: A Decade of Advances in Understanding Peer Influence Processes.

          This article reviews empirical and theoretical contributions to a multidisciplinary understanding of peer influence processes in adolescence over the past decade. Five themes of peer influence research from this decade were identified, including a broadening of the range of behaviors for which peer influence occurs, distinguishing the sources of influence, probing the conditions under which influence is amplified/attenuated (moderators), testing theoretically based models of peer influence processes (mechanisms), and preliminary exploration of behavioral neuroscience perspectives on peer influence. This review highlights advances in each of these areas, underscores gaps in current knowledge of peer influence processes, and outlines important challenges for future research.
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            The Compulsive Internet Use Scale (CIUS): some psychometric properties.

            The present study aimed to develop a short, easily administered, psychometrically sound, and valid instrument to assess the severity of compulsive Internet use. A set of criteria was determined based on the addiction literature. Next, the internal consistency and convergent validity were determined, and the set was tested as a one-factor solution in two representative samples of heavy Internet users (n = 447 and n = 229) and in one large convenience sample of regular Internet users (n = 16,925). In these three studies, respondents were asked about their online behavior and about problems related to Internet use. In the first study, the Online Cognition Scale (OCS) was included to determine concurrent validity. The newly developed Compulsive Internet Use Scale (CIUS) contains 14 items ratable on a 5-point Likert scale. The instrument showed good factorial stability across time and across different samples and subsamples. The internal consistency is high, and high correlations with concurrent and criterion variables demonstrate good validity.
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              Psychological and social sequelae of cannabis and other illicit drug use by young people: a systematic review of longitudinal, general population studies.

              Use of illicit drugs, particularly cannabis, by young people is widespread and is associated with several types of psychological and social harm. These relations might not be causal. Causal relations would suggest that recreational drug use is a substantial public health problem. Non-causal relations would suggest that harm-reduction policy based on prevention of drug use is unlikely to produce improvements in public health. Cross-sectional evidence cannot clarify questions of causality; longitudinal or interventional evidence is needed. Past reviews have generally been non-systematic, have often included cross-sectional data, and have underappreciated the extent of methodological problems associated with interpretation. We did a systematic review of general population longitudinal studies reporting associations between illicit drug use by young people and psychosocial harm. We identified 48 relevant studies, of which 16 were of higher quality and provided the most robust evidence. Fairly consistent associations were noted between cannabis use and both lower educational attainment and increased reported use of other illicit drugs. Less consistent associations were noted between cannabis use and both psychological health problems and problematic behaviour. All these associations seemed to be explicable in terms of non-causal mechanisms. Available evidence does not strongly support an important causal relation between cannabis use by young people and psychosocial harm, but cannot exclude the possibility that such a relation exists. The lack of evidence of robust causal relations prevents the attribution of public health detriments to illicit drug use. In view of the extent of illicit drug use, better evidence is needed.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                Addict Behav Rep
                Addict Behav Rep
                Addictive Behaviors Reports
                Elsevier
                2352-8532
                14 March 2018
                June 2018
                14 March 2018
                : 7
                : 75-81
                Affiliations
                Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland
                Author notes
                [* ]Corresponding author. iina.savolainen@ 123456staff.uta.fi
                Article
                S2352-8532(18)30009-9
                10.1016/j.abrep.2018.03.002
                5993892
                © 2018 The Authors

                This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

                Categories
                Research paper

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