Adolescent cigarette smoking: health-related behavior or normative transgression?

Prev Sci. 2000 Sep;1(3):115-24. doi: 10.1023/a:1010094221568.


Relations among measures of adolescent behavior were examined to determine whether cigarette smoking fits into a structure of problem behaviors-behaviors that involve normative transgression-or a structure of health-related behaviors, or both. In an ethnically and socioeconomically diverse sample of 1782 male and female high school adolescents, four first-order problem behavior latent variables-sexual intercourse experience, alcohol abuse, illicit drug use, and delinquency-were established and together were shown to reflect a second-order latent variable of problem behavior. Four first-order latent variables of health-related behaviors-unhealthy dietary habits, sedentary behavior, unsafe behavior, and poor dental hygiene-were also established and together were shown to reflect a second-order latent variable of health-compromising behavior. The structure of relations among those latent variables was modeled. Cigarette smoking had a significant and substantial loading only on the problem-behavior latent variable; its loading on the health-compromising behavior latent variable was essentially zero. Adolescent cigarette smoking relates strongly and directly to problem behaviors and only indirectly, if at all, to health-compromising behaviors. Interventions to prevent or reduce adolescent smoking should attend more to factors that influence problem behaviors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology*
  • African Americans / psychology
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Colorado
  • Diet
  • European Continental Ancestry Group / psychology
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Hispanic Americans / psychology
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology
  • Mental Disorders / etiology*
  • Models, Psychological
  • Psychology, Adolescent / statistics & numerical data*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Risk Factors
  • Sexual Behavior / psychology
  • Sexual Behavior / statistics & numerical data
  • Smoking / adverse effects*
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Smoking / psychology*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires