Objectives: We examined the association between psychological abuse in a current relationship and current cigarette smoking among women, with and without the co-occurrence of physical or sexual abuse.
Methods: Women's experience of psychological abuse, experience of physical or sexual abuse, and smoking status were ascertained through a survey of female nurses. A score of 20 or more on the Women's Experience With Battering scale defined psychological abuse. We used logistic regression to predict current smoking, adjusting for demographic and social covariates. Analyses included women in a current relationship (n=54200).
Results: Adjusted analyses demonstrated that women experiencing only psychological abuse alone were 33% (95% confidence interval [CI]=13%, 57%) more likely to smoke than nonabused women. Compared with nonabused women, psychologically abused women's risk of smoking was greater if they reported a single co-occurrence of physical or sexual abuse (odds ratio [OR]=1.5; 95% CI=1.3, 1.8) or multiple co-occurrences (OR=1.9; 95% CI=1.7, 2.3).
Conclusions: Psychological abuse in a current relationship was associated with an increased risk of smoking in this cohort of largely White, well-educated, and employed women. The co-occurrence of physical or sexual abuse enhanced that risk. Further research is needed to see if these associations hold for other groups.