Social Identity and Adolescent Substance Use

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An article published in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking investigated the role of online social identity in the relationship between adolescent exposure to alcohol-related content posted by peers on social networking sites and alcohol use.

The study found that higher levels of exposure to alcohol-related content on social networking sites was associated with higher levels of alcohol consumption.

According to social identity literature, youth align their behaviors with other members of their social group to maintain their social identity.

The authors conclude that the study findings reflect the importance of taking into consideration the “self” in both online and offline prevention efforts.

Cost-effective evidence-based strategies already exist to promote healthy self-identity among youth and young adults.

These interventions have been shown to effectively prevention alcohol and marijuana use as well as promote health-promoting habits like physical activity.

The SPORT Prevention Plus Wellness (PPW) program for youth, and the InShape Prevention Plus Wellness (PPW) program for college-aged students, are unique single-session screening and brief interventions that target positive identities of youth to motivate multiple health behavior improvements.

Both SPORT PPW and InShape PPW are founded on the Behavior-Image Model (BIM).

BIM is a conceptual framework for developing brief interventions that harnesses the natural motivational force of peer and future self-identity to engage youth and young adults to set and monitor goals resulting in reduced substance use and increased wellness habits like exercise, sports participation, and healthy eating.

Learn more about these and other positive-identity based interventions today: http://preventionpluswellness.com

Read the entire research article: http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/full/10.1089/cyber.2016.0665

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