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The effects of social norms among peer groups on risk behavior: A multilevel approach to differentiate perceived and collective norms


Geber, Sarah; Baumann, Eva; Czerwinski, Fabian; Klimmt, Christoph (2019). The effects of social norms among peer groups on risk behavior: A multilevel approach to differentiate perceived and collective norms. Communication Research:1-27.

Abstract

Social norms have been found to be an important factor in individuals’ health and risk behaviors. Past research has typically addressed which social norms individuals perceive in their social environments (e.g., in their peer group). The present article explores normative social influences beyond such perceptions by applying a multilevel approach and differentiating between perceived norms at the individual level and collective norms at the group level. Data on norms and three road traffic risk behaviors (speeding, driving after drinking, and texting while driving) were obtained from a representative survey among young German car drivers (N = 311 anchor respondents) and their peer groups (overall N = 1,244). Multilevel modeling (MLM) revealed that beyond individual normative perceptions of peers’ behavior and approval, actual collective norms (peers’ actual risk behavior and attitudes) affect individuals’ risk behaviors. Findings are discussed with regard to theorizing normative influences on risk behavior and practical implications.

Abstract

Social norms have been found to be an important factor in individuals’ health and risk behaviors. Past research has typically addressed which social norms individuals perceive in their social environments (e.g., in their peer group). The present article explores normative social influences beyond such perceptions by applying a multilevel approach and differentiating between perceived norms at the individual level and collective norms at the group level. Data on norms and three road traffic risk behaviors (speeding, driving after drinking, and texting while driving) were obtained from a representative survey among young German car drivers (N = 311 anchor respondents) and their peer groups (overall N = 1,244). Multilevel modeling (MLM) revealed that beyond individual normative perceptions of peers’ behavior and approval, actual collective norms (peers’ actual risk behavior and attitudes) affect individuals’ risk behaviors. Findings are discussed with regard to theorizing normative influences on risk behavior and practical implications.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Department of Communication and Media Research
Dewey Decimal Classification:700 Arts
Language:English
Date:17 January 2019
Deposited On:04 Nov 2019 13:25
Last Modified:18 Jan 2020 01:00
Publisher:Sage Publications
ISSN:0093-6502
OA Status:Green
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1177/0093650218824213

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