Social network and inequalities in smoking amongst school-aged adolescents in six European countries

Vincent Lorant, Victoria Soto Rojas, Pierre Olivier Robert, Jaana M. Kinnunen, Mirte A G Kuipers, Irene Moor, Gaetano Roscillo, Joana Alves, Arja Rimpelä, Bruno Federico, Matthias Richter, Julian Perelman, Anton E. Kunst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

Objectives: Smoking contributes to socio-economic health inequalities; but it is unclear how smoking inequalities emerge at a young age. So far, little attention has been paid to the role of friendship ties. We hypothesised that the combination of peer exposure and friendship social homophily may contribute to socio-economic inequalities in smoking at school. Methods: In 2013, a social network survey was carried out in 50 schools in six medium-size European cities (Namur, Tampere, Hanover, Latina, Amersfoort, and Coimbra). Adolescents in grades corresponding to the 14-to-16 age group were recruited (n = 11.015, participation rate = 79.4 %). We modelled adolescents’ smoking behaviour as a function of socio-economic background, and analysed the mediating role of social homophily and peer exposure. Results: Lower socio-economic groups were more likely to smoke and were more frequently exposed to smoking by their close and distant friends, compared with adolescents of higher SES. The smoking risk of the lowest socio-economic group decreased after controlling for friends smoking and social homophily. Conclusions: Smoking socio-economic inequalities amongst adolescents are driven by friendship networks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-62
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Public Health
Volume62
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Keywords

  • Adolescent
  • Smoking
  • Social network
  • Socio-economic inequalities

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