Objective: To determine the direct impact of self-control variables on baseline smoking and smoking progression and determine whether self-control had indirect effects on smoking practices through effects on peer smoking.
Methods: Study participants were 918 adolescents who were followed from 9th through the 12th grade and completed self-report measures of peer smoking, self-control, and cigarette smoking. An exploratory factor analysis (EFA) was conducted to assess the factor structure of a 41-item self-control measure. The EFA indicated a six-factor structure comprising of impulsive control, planning, hostile blaming, attentional disregulation, conscientiousness, and physical aggression.
Results: The results of a latent growth model indicated that conscientiousness (OR = 0.81, CI = 0.73-0.90), hostile blaming (OR = 0.89, CI = 0.81-0.99), and physical aggression (OR = 1.16, CI = 1.06-1.27) had direct effects on baseline smoking, whereas planning (OR = 0.90, CI = 0.82-0.99) and impulse control (OR = 1.15, CI = 1.02-1.28) had indirect effects on adolescent smoking at baseline through baseline peer smoking. There were no significant direct or indirect effects of the self-control indices on smoking progression. There was a direct effect of peer smoking progression (number of peers who smoked) on adolescent smoking progression, such that increases in the number of peers who smoked across time increased the odds that an adolescent would progress to a higher level of smoking.
Conclusions: Youth smoking prevention and intervention program outcomes may potentially improve by addressing self-control behaviors as they appear to have direct effects on smoking and indirect effects through peers who smoke.