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The relationship between smoking status and serious psychological distress: findings from the 2007 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System

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International Journal of Public Health

Abstract

Objectives:

To examine the associations between smoking and quit attempts with psychological distress and also by socioeconomic groups.

Methods:

Using data on 172,938 adult respondents from the 2007 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System we used the Kessler-6 scale to assess psychological distress among never, former, some-day, and everyday smokers and smokers attempting to quit.

Results:

Everyday smokers and attempting quitters had higher mean levels of 30-day psychological distress than never smokers. Compared with never smokers, the odds of having serious psychological distress (SPD) were: former smokers, 1.3 (95 % CI: 1.1–1.6); some-day smokers, 2.5 (95 % CI: 2.0–3.1); and everyday smokers, 3.3 (95 % CI: 2.8–3.8). As for unsuccessful quit attempts, the odds were highest for current smokers (3.3 [95 % CI: 2.8–3.8]) versus never smokers. Among current smokers, persons with less than high school education, income less than $ 50,000, or who were unemployed or unable to work had the highest odds of reporting SPD.

Conclusions:

Given the association between current smoking behaviors and psychological distress, future tobacco prevention and control efforts may benefit by including components of mental health, especially for low SES populations.

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Authors

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Correspondence to Shanta R. Dube PhD, MPH.

Additional information

Submitted: 10 September 2008; revised: 09 January 2009, 15 February 2009; accepted: 12 March 2009

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Dube, S.R., Caraballo, R.S., Dhingra, S.S. et al. The relationship between smoking status and serious psychological distress: findings from the 2007 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. Int J Public Health 54 (Suppl 1), 68–74 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00038-009-0009-y

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00038-009-0009-y

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