Cigarette smoking and alcohol use in adolescence, like other risk behaviors, are meaningful and goal-directed actions: they fulfill specific psychological functions in relation to the adolescent developmental tasks. The present study investigated functions of cigarette smoking and alcohol use in the adolescents’ perception through six focus groups with a total of 46 adolescents, boys and girls, attending different high schools in Turin (Italy). The interviews were transcribed and content analysis was carried out. A series of categories corresponding to functions were individuated. In line with literature, results stressed that main functions of cigarette smoking referred to transgression, experimentation, emulation and visibility, while principal functions of alcohol use could be considered communication and coping. The main motivation of both behaviors was pleasure. Implication for prevention is discussed.
Keywords: Adolescence, cigarette smoking, alcohol use, psychological functions, focus group