Boundary violations and adolescent drinking: Observational evidence that symbolic boundaries moderate social influence

Autoři: Achim Edelmann aff001
Působiště autorů: Institute of Sociology, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland aff001;  Department of Sociology, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, England, United Kingdom aff002;  Duke Network Analysis Center, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, United States of America aff003
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 14(11)
Kategorie: Research Article
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0224185


Scholars of social influence can benefit from attending to symbolic boundaries. A common and influential way to understand symbolic boundaries is as widely shared understandings of what types of behaviors, tastes, and opinions are appropriate for different kinds of people. Scholars following this understanding have mostly focused on how people judge others and how symbolic boundaries align with and thus reproduce social differences. Although this work has been impressive, I argue that it might miss important ways in which symbolic boundaries become effective in everyday social life. I therefore develop an understanding of how symbolic boundaries affect people’s ideas and decisions about themselves and their own behavior. Based on this, I argue that focusing on boundary violations—that is, what happens if people express opinions or enact behavior that contravenes what is considered (in)appropriate for people like them—might offer an important way to understand how symbolic boundaries initiate and shape cultural and social change. Using data from Add Health, I demonstrate the utility of this line of argument and show that boundary violations play an important role in channeling social influence. Conservative/Evangelical Protestants and to a lesser degree Catholics, but not Mainline Protestants are highly influenced by the drinking of co-religionists. I consider the implications for cultural sociology.

Klíčová slova:

Adolescents – Behavior – Catholicism – Culture – Network analysis – Religion – Schools – Social influence


1. Valente TW. Network models of the diffusion of innovations. Computational & Mathematical Organization Theory. 1996 Jun 1;2(2):163–4.

2. Friedkin NE. Social influence network theory: Toward a science of strategic modification of interpersonal influence systems. Cambridge University Press; 2011.

3. Mercken L, Snijders TA, Steglich C, Vartiainen E, De Vries H. Dynamics of adolescent friendship networks and smoking behavior. Social networks. 2010 Jan 1;32(1):72–81.

4. Centola D. An experimental study of homophily in the adoption of health behavior. Science. 2011 Dec 2;334(6060):1269–72. doi: 10.1126/science.1207055 22144624

5. Jenkins R. Social Identity. Routledge; 2014.

6. Turner JC, Oakes P. The significance of the social identity concept for social psychology with reference to individualism, interactionism and social influence. British Journal of Social Psychology. 1986;25(3):237–52.

7. Tajfel H, Turner JC. The Social Identity Theory of Intergroup Behavior. In: Worchel S, Austi WG, editors. The Psychology of Intergroup Relations. Chicago: Nelson-Hall. 1986. p. 7–24.

8. Cialdini RB. Influence: Science and practice. Vol. 4. Boston: Pearson education, 2009.

9. Cialdini RB. Descriptive social norms as underappreciated sources of social control. Psychometrika. 2007 Jun 1;72(2):263.

10. Bourdieu P. Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press; 1984[1979].

11. Bourdieu P. The logic of practice. Stanford university press; 1990.

12. Rossman G. The Diffusion of the Legitimate and the Diffusion of Legitimacy. Sociological Science. 2014 Mar 3;1:49–69.

13. Strang D, Meyer JW. Institutional conditions for diffusion. Theory and society. 1993 Aug 1;22(4):487–511.

14. Lamont M, Molnár V. The study of boundaries in the social sciences. Annual Review of Sociology, 28. 2002:167–195.

15. Zerubavel E. Social Mindscapes: An Invitation to Cognitive Sociology. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press; 1997.

16. Epstein CF. Tinker-bells and pinups: The construction and reconstruction of gender boundaries at work. In: Lamont M, Fournier M, editors. Cultivating differences: Symbolic boundaries and the making of inequality. Chicago: University of Chicago Press; 1992. p. 232–256.

17. Durkheim E. The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life. Courier Corporation; 2012[1912].

18. Douglas M. Purity and Danger: An Analysis of Concepts of Pollution and Taboo. Routledge and Kegan Paul; 1966.

19. Weber M. Economy and Society: An Outline of Interpretive Sociology. University of California Press; 1978[1922].

20. Gamson WA. Talking Politics. Chicago: Cambridge University Press, New York. 1992.

21. Lamont M. The Dignity of Working Men: Morality and the Boundaries of Race, Class, and Immigration. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press; 2000.

22. Lichterman P. Religion and the construction of civic identity. American Sociological Review. 2008;73(1):83–104.

23. Tavory I. Of yarmulkes and categories: Delegating boundaries and the phenomenology of interactional expectation. Theory and Society. 2010;39(1):49–68.

24. Young AA. The Minds of Marginalized Black Men: Making Sense of Mobility, Opportunity, and Future Life Chances (Princeton Studies in Cultural Sociology). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press; 2006.

25. Lamont M. Money, Morals, and Manners: The Culture of the French and the American Upper-Middle Class. Chicago: University of Chicago Press; 1992.

26. Bourdieu P, Passeron JC. Reproduction in Education, Society and Culture. London: Sage; 1990[1970].

27. Mohr JW, Duquenne V. The duality of culture and practice: Poverty relief in New York City. Theory and Society. 1997;26(2):1888–917.

28. Lamont M, Pendergrass S, Pachucki MC. Symbolic boundaries. In: Wright J, editor. International Encyclopedia of Social and Behavioral Sciences. Oxford: Elsevier; 2015. p. 850–55.

29. Pachucki MA, Pendergrass S, Lamont M. Boundary processes: Recent theoretical developments and new contributions. Poetics. 2007;35(6):331–51.

30. Bearman PS, Jones J, Udry JR. The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health: Research Design. Chapel Hill: Carolina Population Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; 1997.

31. Fiske ST Stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination. In: Fiske ST, Gilbert DT, Lindzey G, editors. Handbook of Social Psychology, Vol. 2. John Wiley & Sons; 1998. p. 357–411.

32. Edelmann A. Formalizing symbolic boundaries. Poetics. 2018; 68:120–30.

33. Brewer MB. The psychology of prejudice: Ingroup love and outgroup hate? Journal of Social Issues. 1999;55(3):429–44.

34. Bourdieu P. Outline of a Theory of Practice. (Translated by Nice R.) Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press; 1977[1972].

35. Brown R. Social identity theory: Past achievements, current problems and future challenges. European Journal of Social Psychology. 2000;30(6):745–778.

36. Gamson WA. Constructing social protest. In: Johnston H, Klandermans B, editors. Social Movements and Culture, 4. UCL Press; 1995. p. 85–106.

37. Strauss C, Quinn N. A Cognitive Theory of Cultural Meaning. Chicago: Cambridge University Press; 1997.

38. Turner JC. Towards a cognitive redefinition of the social group. In: Taifel H, editor. Social Identity and Intergroup Relations. Chicago: Cambridge University Press; 1982. p. 15–40.

39. Wimmer A. Ethnic Boundary Making: Institutions, Power, Networks. New York, NY: Oxford University Press; 2013.

40. Gieryn TF. Boundary-work and the demarcation of science from non-science: Strains and interests in professional ideologies of scientists. American Sociological Review. 1983:781–795.

41. Gieryn TF. Cultural boundaries of science: Credibility on the line. Chicago: University of Chicago Press; 1999.

42. Lizardo O, Strand M. Skills, toolkits, contexts and institutions: Clarifying the relationship between different approaches to cognition in cultural sociology. Poetics. 2010;38(2):205–28.

43. Swidler A. What anchors cultural practices. In: Cetina KK, Schatzki TR, von Savigny E, editors. The Practice Turn in Contemporary Theory. London, UK: Routledge; 2001. p. 74–92.

44. Swidler A. Comment on Stephen Vaisey’s “Socrates, Skinner, and Aristotle: Three ways of thinking about culture in action”. Sociological Forum. 2008;23(3):614–18.

45. Lizardo O. Improving cultural analysis: considering personal culture in its declarative and nondeclarative modes. American Sociological Review. 2017;82(1):88–115.

46. Borsari B, Carey KB. Peer influences on college drinking: A review of the research. Journal of Substance Abuse. 2001;13(4):391–424. 11775073

47. Gaviria A, Raphael S. School-based peer effects and juvenile behavior. Review of Economics and Statistics. 2001;83(2):257–268.

48. Lundborg P. Having the wrong friends? Peer effects in adolescent substance use. Journal of Health Economics. 2006;25(2):214–33. doi: 10.1016/j.jhealeco.2005.02.001 15964090

49. Dick DM, Pagan JL, Holliday C, Viken R, Pulkkinen L, Kaprio J, et al. Gender differences in friends’ influences on adolescent drinking: A genetic epidemiological study. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. 2007;31(12):2012–9.

50. Clark AE, Lohéac Y. “It wasn’t me, it was them!” Social influence in risky behavior by adolescents. Journal of Health Economics. 2007;26(4):763–84. doi: 10.1016/j.jhealeco.2006.11.005 17188768

51. Singleton RA, Wolfson AR. Alcohol consumption, sleep, and academic performance among college students. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. 2009;70(3):355–63. doi: 10.15288/jsad.2009.70.355 19371486

52. Wechsler H, Davenport A, Dowdall G, Moeykens B, Castillo S. Health and behavioral consequences of binge drinking in college: A national survey of students at 140 campuses. Jama. 1994;272(21):1672–77. 7966895

53. Hingson RW, Edwards EM, Heeren T, Rosenbloom D. Age of drinking onset and injuries, motor vehicle crashes, and physical fights after drinking and when not drinking. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. 2009;33(5):783–90.

54. Hingson RW, Zha W. Age of drinking onset, alcohol use disorders, frequent heavy drinking, and unintentionally injuring oneself and others after drinking. Pediatrics. 2009;123(6):1477–84. doi: 10.1542/peds.2008-2176 19482757

55. Roudsari BS, Leahy MM, Walters ST. Correlates of dating violence among male and female heavy-drinking college students. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. 2009;24(11):1892–905. doi: 10.1177/0886260508325492 18981192

56. Darvishi N, Farhadi M, Haghtalab T, Poorolajal J. Alcohol-related risk of suicidal ideation, suicide attempt, and completed suicide: a meta-analysis. PloS one. 2015;10(5): e0126870. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0126870 25993344

57. White A, Hingson R. The burden of alcohol use: Excessive alcohol consumption and related consequences among college students. Alcohol Research: Current Reviews. 2014;35 (2):201–18.

58. Inglehart R. and Baker W.E., 2000. Modernization, cultural change, and the persistence of traditional values. American sociological review, pp.19–51.

59. Schwadel P. Changes in Americans' strength of religious affiliation, 1974–2010. Sociology of Religion. 2012 Aug 10;74(1):107–28.

60. Smith C, Emerson M. American Evangelicalism: Embattled and Thriving. University of Chicago Press; 1998.

61. Nelles H. V. American Exceptionalism: A Double-Edged Sword. The American Historical Review 102, no. 3 (1997): 749–757.

62. Tiryakian EA. American religious exceptionalism: A reconsideration. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. 1993 May;527(1):40–54.

63. Hout M. and Fischer C.S., 2002. Why more Americans have no religious preference: Politics and generations. American Sociological Review, pp.165–190.

64. Cochran JK, Akers RL. Beyond hellfire: An exploration of the variable effects of religiosity on adolescent marijuana and alcohol use. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency. 1989;26(3):198–225.

65. Nonnemaker JM, McNeely CA, Blum RW. Public and private domains of religiosity and adolescent health risk behaviors: Evidence from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. Social Science & Medicine. 2003;57(11):2049–54.

66. Wallace JM Jr, Williams DR. Religion and adolescent health-compromising behavior. In: Schulenberg J, Maggs JL, Hurrelmann K, editors. Health Risks and Developmental Transitions During Adolescence. Chicago: Cambridge University Press; 1997. p. 444–70.

67. Wallace JM, Forman TA. Religion’s role in promoting health and reducing risk among American youth. Health Education and Behavior. 1998;25(6):721–41. doi: 10.1177/109019819802500604 9813744

68. Smith C. Theorizing religious effects among American adolescents. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion. 2003;42(1):17–30.

69. Williams J, Powell LM, Wechsler H. Does alcohol consumption reduce human capital accumulation? Evidence from the College Alcohol Study. Applied Economics. 2003;35:1227–39.

70. Renna F. The economic cost of teen drinking: late graduation and lowered earnings. Health Economics. 2007;16:407–19. doi: 10.1002/hec.1178 17031781

71. Williams J. Habit formation and college students’ demand for alcohol. Health Economics. 2005;14:119–34. doi: 10.1002/hec.908 15386667

72. Auld MC. Smoking, drinking, and income. The Journal of Human Resources. 2005;15:504–18.

73. Heien DM. Do drinkers earn less? Southern Economic Journal. 1996;60:63–8.

74. Bock EW, Cochran JK, Beeghley L. Moral messages: The relative influence of denomination on the religiosity-alcohol relationship. The Sociological Quarterly. 1987;28(1):89–103.

75. Cochran JK. The variable effects of religiosity and denomination on adolescent self-reported alcohol use by beverage type. Journal of Drug Issues. 1993;23(3):479–91.

76. Harris KM, Florey F, Tabor J, Bearman PS, Jones J, Udry JR. The national longitudinal study of adolescent health: Research design (Tech. Rep.). 2009[2003]. Available at:

77. Norton EC, Lindrooth RC, Ennett ST. Controlling for the endogeneity of peer substance use on adolescent alcohol and tobacco use. Health Economics. 1998;7(5):439–53. 9753378

78. Case AC, Katz LF. The company you keep: The effects of family and neighborhood on disadvantaged youths. National Bureau of Economic Research, Working Paper No 3705. 1991.

79. Manski CF. Economic analysis of social interactions. Journal of Economic Perspectives. 2000;14:115–36.

80. Steensland B, Park JZ, Regnerus MD, Robinson LD, Wilcox WB, Woodberry RD. The measure of American religion: Toward improving the state of the art. Social Forces. 2000;79(1): 291–318.

81. Edgell P, Gerteis J, Hartmann D. Atheists as “other”: Moral boundaries and cultural membership in American society. American Sociological Review. 2006;71(2):211–34.

82. Angrist JD. Estimation of limited dependent variable models with dummy endogenous regressors. Journal of Business & Economic Statistics. 2012;19(1):2–16.

83. Cai B. Causal Inference with Two-Stage Logistic Regression-Accuracy, Precision, and Application [dissertation]. University of Pennsylvania; 2010.

84. Vansteelandt S, Goetghebeur E. Causal inference with generalized structural mean models. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society: Series B (Statistical Methodology). 2003;65(4):817–35.

85. Moulton BR. An illustration of a pitfall in estimating the effects of aggregate variables on micro unit. The review of Economics and Statistics. 1990;72(2):334–8.

86. Morgan SL, Winship C. Counterfactuals and causal inference. Chicago: Cambridge University Press; 2014.

87. Moffitt RA. Policy interventions, low-level equilibria, and social interactions. Social Dynamics. 2001;4(45–82):6–17.

88. Manski CF. Identification of endogenous social effects: the reflection problem, Review of Economic Studies. 1993;60(3):531–42.

89. Manski CF. Identification problems in the social sciences. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press; 1995.

90. Brock W, Durlauf S. Interactions-based models. In: Heckman J, Leamer E, editors. Handbook of Econometrics, Vol. 5. Amsterdam: North Holland; 2001. p. 3297–380.

91. Durlauf SN. On the empirics of social capital. The Economic Journal. 2002;112(483): F459–79.

92. Durlauf SN, Ioannides YM. Social interactions. Annual Review of Economics. 2010;2(1):451–78.

93. Angrist JD, Imbens GW, Rubin DB. Identification of causal effects using instrumental variables. Journal of the American Statistical Association. 1996;91(434):444–55.

94. Evans WN, Wallace EO, Schwab RM. Measuring peer group effects: A study of teenage behavior. Journal of Political Economy. 1992;100(5):996–991.

95. Card D, Rothstein J. Racial segregation and the black-white test score gap. Journal of Public Economics. 2007;91(11):2158–84.

96. Cochran JK, Beeghley L, Bock EW. Religiosity and alcohol behavior: An exploration of reference group theory. Sociological Forum. 1988;3(2):256–76.

97. Stock JH, Wright JH, Yogo, M A survey of weak instruments and weak identification in generalized method of moments. Journal of Business and Economic Statistics. 2002;20(2):518–29.

98. Frank KA. Impact of a confounding variable on a regression coefficient. Sociological Methods & Research. 2000;29(2):147–94.

99. Hunt SA, Benford RD, Snow DA. Identity fields: Framing processes and the social construction of movement identities. In: Laraña E, Gusfield JR, Johnston H, editors. New Social Movements: From Ideology to Identity. Temple University Press; 1994. p. 185–208.

100. Benford RD, Snow DA. Framing processes and social movements: An overview and assessment. Annual Review of Sociology. 2000;26(1):611–39.

101. Snow DA, Soule SA. A Primer on Social Movements. WW Norton. 2010.

102. Noel H, Nyhan B. The “unfriending” problem: The consequences of homophily in friendship retention for causal estimates of social influence. Social Networks. 2011 Jul 1;33(3):211–8.

103. Patacchini E, Zenou Y. Racial identity and education in social networks. Social Networks. 2016;44:85–94.

104. Eisenberg D, Golberstein E, Whitlock JL. Peer effects on risky behaviors: New evidence from college roommate assignments. Journal of Health Economics 33. 2014:126–38. doi: 10.1016/j.jhealeco.2013.11.006 24316458

105. DiMaggio P, Garip F. Network effects and social inequality. Annual Review of Sociology. 2012;38:93–118.

Článek vyšel v časopise


2019 Číslo 11