Applying a behavioral economic framework to understanding adolescent smoking

Psychol Addict Behav. 2004 Mar;18(1):64-73. doi: 10.1037/0893-164X.18.1.64.


Adolescents' choice to smoke may depend on substitute reinforcers for smoking, complementary activities to smoking, and individual differences in reinforcer value. The influence of these variables on smoking was determined among 983 adolescents. Substitutes were school involvement, academic performance, physical activity, and sports team participation: complements were peer smoking and substance use; delay discounting assessed individual differences in reinforcer value. Latent growth modeling indicated that substitute reinforcers reduced the odds of smoking progression almost two-fold, complementary reinforcers increased the odds by 1.14. and delay discounting indirectly influenced the odds of smoking progression through complementary reinforcers. Adolescents who smoke may have fewer reinforcers that protect against smoking and more reinforcers that promote smoking. Discounting of future rewards affects smoking through reinforcer type.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior*
  • Economics*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Models, Psychological
  • Reinforcement, Psychology*
  • Risk
  • Smoking / psychology*
  • Virginia