College students' smoking behavior, perceived stress, and coping styles

J Drug Educ. 1996;26(4):367-76. doi: 10.2190/MTG0-DCCE-YR29-JLT3.


The purpose of this study was to examine college students' smoking behavior as well as their current smoking status and its effects on perceived levels of stress and coping styles. Students from four universities completed the Perceived Stress Scale, the Coping Inventory for Stressful Situations and a smoking questionnaire. Of the 1330 students who participated in the study, 19 percent were current smokers. On the Perceived Stress Scale, current smokers' mean score was significantly higher than that of the students who had never smoked. In addition, the current smokers' mean score for Emotion-oriented Coping was significantly higher than that of the students who had never smoked or formerly smoked. The former smokers' mean score on Avoidance-oriented Coping was significantly lower than the never and the current smokers. Ten percent of the students smoked their first cigarette after high school, while 11 percent started to smoke on a daily basis after high school. Based on the findings, programs that focus on smoking prevention and cessation for college students are recommended.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Avoidance Learning
  • Emotions
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Problem Solving
  • Smoking / psychology*
  • Stress, Psychological / prevention & control
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology*
  • Students / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Universities*