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Adolescent Susceptibility to Peer Influence in Sexual Situations
Helms, S. W.,
Prinstein, M. J.
Year Published: 2016
Journal of Adolescent Health
These authors examined adolescent susceptibility to peer influence regarding risky sexual behavior. A sample of 300 early adolescents completed a pretest assessment of demographics, sexual attitudes, and hypothetical scenarios measuring the likelihood of engaging in sexual risk behavior. Then they participated in an experimental procedure that simulated an Internet chat room where youth believed they were communicating with peers about the same hypothetical scenarios. These “peers” were actually computer-programmed e-confederates. Changes in responses to the sexual scenarios in the private pretest versus the public chat room provided a performance-based measure of peer influence susceptibility. Seventy-eight percent of youth gave more risky responses in the chat room than in pretest. The most robust predictor of this change was gender, with boys significantly more susceptible to peer influence than girls. Among boys, those who were African American and those with later pubertal development were more susceptible to peer influence. Modified Author Abstract.