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How Can Peer Group Influence the Behavior of Adolescents: Explanatory Model

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Author(s): Gina Tomé | Margarida Matos | Celeste Simões | José Alves Diniz | Inês Camacho

Journal: Global Journal of Health Science
ISSN 1916-9736

Volume: 4;
Issue: 2;
Date: 2012;
Original page

ABSTRACT
The current work aims to study both the peer group and family influence on adolescent behaviour. In order to achieve the aforementioned objective, an explanatory model based on the Structural Equations Modelling (SEM) was proposed. The sample used was the group of adolescents that participated in the Portuguese survey of the European study Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC). The Portuguese survey included students from grades 6, 8 and 10 within the public education system, with an average age of 14 years old (SD=1.89). The total sample of the HBSC study carried out in 2006 was 4,877; however with the use of the SEM, 1,238 participants were lost out of the total sample. The results show that peers have a direct influence in adolescents’ risk behaviours. The relationship with parents did not demonstrate the expected mediation effect, with the exception of the following elements: relation between type of friends and risk behaviour; and communication with parent and lesser involvement in violence behaviours and increased well-being. The negative influence of the peer group is more connected to the involvement in risk behaviours, whilst the positive influence is more connected with protective behaviours.
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