Coerced childhood sexual abuse moderates the association between cigarette smoking initiation and college drug use frequency

Am J Addict. Sep-Oct 2009;18(5):363-6. doi: 10.3109/10550490903077804.


The current study examined childhood sexual abuse (CSA) as a potential moderator of the "gateway theory" association of cigarette use onset and college drug use. Covariate adjusted hierarchical regressions showed that CSA history interacted with age of first cigarette to predict total 12-month illicit drug use frequency (Delta R(2) =.048, F(10, 76) = 4.041, Mse = 8.812, p =.021). Simple effects revealed that age of first cigarette predicted drug use frequency in individuals with CSA histories (p =.045) rather than non-CSA individuals (p =.103). Exploratory analyses further revealed that the CSA moderation was carried primarily by those exposed to forced/coerced CSA events. Implications of the findings are discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age of Onset
  • Child Abuse, Sexual / psychology*
  • Coercion*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Smoking / psychology*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology*
  • Universities
  • Young Adult