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Social influences and constraints on the initiation and cessation of adolescent tobacco use


This research examines the viability of a theoretical perspective which combines social bonding theory and differential association theory in explaining the initiation and cessation of adolescent tobacco use. Three-year panel data collected from seventh- to twelfth-grade adolescents were analyzed using differences in means tests and discriminant analysis. The findings indicate overall support for the theoretical model in discriminating between (1) initiators and stable nonsmokers and (2) cessators and stable smokers. However, there were some differences in the variables found to be important at each stage of adolescent smoking. Commitment to education, attachment to father and mother, and association with female smoking friends were the most effective discriminators for the initiation stage, while attachment to father, beliefs, and association with both male and female smoking friends were important for the cessation stage. Findings are also discussed for males and females and for junior and senior high-school adolescents.

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Supported by National Institute of Child health and Human Development Grant HD 00376 and National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Grants HL 14230 (SCOR in Atherosclerosis) and HL R01 HL 20124.

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Skinner, W.F., Massey, J.L., Krohn, M.D. et al. Social influences and constraints on the initiation and cessation of adolescent tobacco use. J Behav Med 8, 353–376 (1985). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00848369

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Key words

  • adolescent smoking
  • initiation
  • cessation
  • social bonding theory
  • differential association theory