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The Heterogeneous Relationship between Peer Drinking and Youth Alcohol Consumption in Chile

Estimating the Heterogeneous Relationship between Peer Drinking and Youth Alcohol Consumption in Chile Using Propensity Score Stratification


Yoonsun Han 1,*,

Andrew Grogan-Kaylor 2,

Jorge Delva 2 and Yu Xie 3


1.Department of Child Psychology and Education, Sungkyunkwan University, 25-2 Sungkyunkwan-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul 110-745, Korea

2.School of Social Work, University of Michigan, 1080 South University Avenue, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA; E-Mails: agrogan@umich.edu (A.G.-K.); jdelva@umich.edu (J.D.)MI 48104, USA; E-Mail: yuxie@umich.edu

3.Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan, 426 Thompson Street, Ann Arbor,


* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed; E-Mail:yoonsunhan@skku.edu; Tel.: +82-2-760-0526; Fax: +82-2-760-0525.


External Editor: Paul B. Tchounwou


Abstract: When estimating the association between peer and youth alcohol consumption, it is critical to account for possible differential levels of response to peer socialization processes across youth, in addition to variability in individual, family, and social factors. Failure to account for intrinsic differences in youth’s response to peers may pose a threat of selection bias. To address this issue, we used a propensity score stratification method to examine whether the size of the association between peer and youth drinking is contingent upon differential predicted probabilities of associating with alcohol-consuming friends. Analyzing a Chilean youth sample (N = 914) of substance use, we found that youths are susceptible to the detrimental role of peer drinkers, but the harmful relationship with one’s own drinking behavior may be exacerbated among youth who already have a high probability of socializing with peers who drink. In other words, computing a single weighted-average estimate for peer drinking would have underestimated the detrimental role of peers, particularly among at-risk youths, and overestimated the role of drinking peers among youths who are less susceptible to peer socialization processes.Heterogeneous patterns in the association between peer and youth drinking may shed light on social policies that target at-risk youths.


Keywords: adolescent behavioral health; Chile; peer alcohol consumption; propensity score stratification


Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11, 11879-11897; doi:10.3390/ijerph111111879