The Influence of Depressive Symptoms on Experimental Smoking and Intention to Smoke in a Diverse Youth Sample

Document Type



Community and Global Health (CGU)

Publication Date



Health Psychology | Mental and Social Health | Multicultural Psychology | Psychiatric and Mental Health | Substance Abuse and Addiction


Numerous studies have shown associations between smoking and depression, but the generalizability of the relationship across ethnic groups remains unknown. The present study assessed the association between depression and smoking intention and experimentation among adolescents from four ethnic groups in the Los Angeles area—Chinese/Chinese American, Latino/Hispanic, Persian/Iranian, and White. Over 800 7th graders in the Los Angeles area completed measures of depressive symptoms, experimentation with smoking, intention to smoke, and sociodemographic covariates. Chinese/Chinese American students had the lowest levels of depressive symptoms, whereas Latinos/Hispanics had the highest levels. Latinos/Hispanics also were the most likely to intend to smoke in the next year and were the most likely to have started experimenting with cigarette smoking. Depressive symptoms were significantly associated with intention to smoke even after controlling for language use acculturation, socioeconomic status, gender, and ethnicity. The association between depressive symptoms and intention to smoke did not vary significantly across ethnic groups. These results indicate that the association between depressive symptoms and adolescent smoking generalizes across diverse ethnic groups.

Rights Information

© 2005 Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco