Monthly Archives: January 2018
Adolescents’ attitude towards smoking is found to an important determinant of smoking intentions. Evidence supporting this point has largely been based on a research by Grogan et al. that explores how young people recognize smoking behavior and consider social role of smoking. There are 12 group interviews, with 47 high school children and 50 university undergraduates in Yorkshire, UK. The study examined how the participants ascribe their smoking behaviour. (Fry, Grogan, Gough, & Conner, 2008).
Some participants in the study demonstrated that smoking allows them to present the desirable appearance to others. For instance, some male participants claimed that smoking would show ‘cool’ and ‘macho’ appearance. Besides, some participants claimed that the brands of cigarette revealed their social identities. For example, ‘Marlborough Light’ may refer to the identity of ‘young’ (Fry, Grogan, Gough, & Conner, 2008).
Many smokers also used cigarettes as a ‘social tool.’ Some participants claimed that they smoked cigarettes for engaging themselves with others, meeting for the first time for example. Many participants claimed that young people manage to smoke together when they get alone in a fixed space. Smoking helps to avoid the ‘awkward’ quiet and ease the dull feeling during in a conversation (Fry, Grogan, Gough, & Conner, 2008).
Also, some participants described that smoking allows them to integrate into a specific social group. When the smoking become normative in the group, they are more likely to conform to the group and become the leaders of the groups later. Later, they will suggest others in the peer group to adapt to the collective behavior such as smoking. Similarly, adolescents would gain indicators of power and status by the smoking behavior in school. For instance, many participants described hands gesture as being ‘demonstrative,’ smoking seemed to be crucial to control others when in company with papers (Fry, Grogan, Gough, & Conner, 2008).
The findings fit in existing psychological approaches as the TPB (Theory of Planned Behavior) and SNT (Social Network Theory). The TPB explores the relationship between behavior and beliefs, attitudes, and intentions, and it assumes behavioral intention is the most important determinant of behavior. According to the research, the purpose of smoking is to capture others’ attentions and present their desirable appearance; the smoking serves as a visible indication of a desirable identity such ‘cool’ and ‘young’ identities. Those young people are more likely to agree with the benefit values of smoking. The social network theory exploring the influence of social relationships on health decision making and behavior. SNT suggests that the individuals’ bahaviours are reciprocity of relationships derived from social environments. When people want to centralize them in the environments, they smoke and engage others in smoking as default behaviour. The study shows cigarettes can function not only as a marker of collective identity, but also as a device employed to render social interactions more manageable as a communication pattern in the environment. Namely, they maintain the relationship by smoking together, both the in the group and meeting young people. The expectation among young people to smoke makes it difficult to avoid either becoming a smoker or being encouraged to be one. Also, the study argued that adolescents are more likely to mimic parental smoking behavior if they perceive parents as being more engaged, especially they are congruent with parent gender This also fits with the SNT. The theory suggests that they learn not only from their own experiences, but by observing the actions of others and the benefits of those actions.
Fry, G., Grogan, S., Gough, B., & Conner, M. (2008). Smoking in the lived world: how young people make sense of the social role cigarettes play in their lives. British Journal of Social Psychology, 763-780.
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