Adolescent smoking and family structure in Europe

Soc Sci Med. 2003 Jan;56(1):41-52. doi: 10.1016/s0277-9536(02)00014-x.


This paper examines the relationship between family structure and smoking among 15-year-old adolescents in seven European countries. It also investigates the association between family structure and a number of known smoking risk factors including family socio-economic status, the adolescent's disposable income, parental smoking and the presence of other smokers in the adolescent's home. Findings are based on 1998 survey data from a cross-national study of health behaviours among children and adolescents. Family structure was found to be significantly associated with smoking among 15-year-olds in all countries, with smoking prevalence lowest among adolescents in intact families and highest among adolescents in stepfamilies. Multivariate analysis showed that several risk factors were associated with higher smoking prevalences in all countries, but that even after these other factors were taken into account, there was an increased likelihood of smoking among adolescents in stepfamilies. Further research is needed to determine the possible reasons for this association.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / ethnology*
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology
  • Austria / epidemiology
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison
  • Denmark / epidemiology
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Family / ethnology*
  • Finland / epidemiology
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Health Behavior / ethnology*
  • Humans
  • Income
  • Norway / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Scotland / epidemiology
  • Smoking / ethnology*
  • Social Change
  • Social Class
  • Wales / epidemiology