Stressful Life Events and Smoking Behaviors in Chinese Adolescents: A Longitudinal Analysis

Document Type



Community and Global Health (CGU)

Publication Date



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


The associations between stressful life events and smoking have been established among adolescents in the United States. However, whether these relationships are similar in adolescents from other non-Western cultures is unknown. Understanding these relationships in adolescents may help to provide opportunities to reduce the smoking rates in those cultures by providing positive coping methods that do not include smoking. In this longitudinal study, the associations between nine stressful life events scales and smoking behaviors were examined in a sample of Chinese adolescents. Six of these scales, positive school-related, negative school-related, positive family-related, positive peer-related, negative peer-related, and negative health-related had significantly different means among females and males. Among males, positive school-related stress was a protective factor for smoking susceptibility. Among females, positive school-related stress was a protective factor and negative school-related stress was a risk factor for lifetime smoking, and negative family-related stress was a risk factor for smoking susceptibility. Findings indicate that smoking among male adolescents in China may not be the result of stress; however, in females stress may contribute to the decision to smoke. Future directions are discussed.

Rights Information

© 2007 Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco