Child and adolescent predictors of smoking involvement in emerging adulthood

Jennifer M. Jester, Jennifer M. Glass, Kipling M. Bohnert, Joel T. Nigg, Maria M. Wong, Robert A. Zucker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Objective: This study examined the differential relationship of externalizing behavior, internalizing behavior, social context, and their interactions to three developmental indicators of smoking involvement: onset (age), amount of smoking, and dependence symptomatology. Method: Participants (n = 504, 73% male) from a high-risk community-based longitudinal study were followed from age 12-14 to young adulthood (18-20). Smoking involvement was conceptualized as a process involving differences in (a) age of onset of smoking, (b) amount of smoking at age 18-20, and (c) level of nicotine dependence symptomatology at age 18-20. Survival analysis was used to predict onset of smoking, regression for smoking level, and zero-inflated Poisson regression for nicotine dependence. Results: Externalizing (teacher report) and internalizing behavior (youth self-report), prior to the onset of smoking, predicted different components of smoking and nicotine dependence in young adulthood. Parental smoking predicted all levels of smoking involvement. Peer smoking was related to early onset of smoking, but not higher levels of smoking involvement. Externalizing and internalizing behavior interacted to predict nicotine dependence level, with higher levels of internalizing behavior predicting higher levels of dependence symptoms, even at low levels of externalizing behavior. Conclusions: Externalizing and internalizing behavior and social context are independent and interacting risk factors that come into play at different points in the developmental process occurring between smoking onset and dependence. This study provides important information for theoretical models of smoking progression and shows that different types of risk should be targeted for prevention at different points in smoking progression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)133-142
Number of pages10
JournalHealth Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2019


  • emerging adult
  • nicotine dependence
  • parent influence
  • peer influence
  • smoking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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