Monday, March 15, 2021

Depressive Symptoms and Cigarette Smoking in Adolescents and Young Adults: Mediating Role of Friends Smoking


Nicotine and tobacco research :We examined the mediating role of friends smoking in the association between depressive symptoms and daily/weekly cigarette smoking from adolescence into adulthood.

Data were drawn from the Nicotine Dependence In Teens study (NDIT, Canada) and the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC, UK) studies. Three age groups were investigated in NDIT: age 13-14 (n=1189), 15-16 (n=1107), and 17-18 (n=1075), and one in ALSPAC (n=4482, age 18-21). Multivariable mediation models decomposed the total effect (TE) of depressive symptoms on smoking into a natural direct effect (NDE) and natural indirect effect (NIE) through friends smoking.

The ORs for the TE were relatively constant over time with estimates ranging from 1.12 to 1.35. Friends smoking mediated the association between depressive symptoms and smoking in the two youngest samples (OR (95%CI) 1.09 (1.01,1.17) in 13-14-year-olds; 1.10 (1.03,1.18) in 15-16-year-olds). In the two older samples, NDE of depressive symptoms was close to the TE, suggestive that mediation was absent or too small to detect.

Friends smoking mediates the association between depressive symptoms and daily/weekly cigarette smoking in young adolescents.

If young adolescents use cigarettes to self-medicate depressive symptoms, then interventions targeting smoking that ignore depressive symptoms may be ineffective. Our results also underscore the importance of the influence of friends in younger adolescents, suggestive that preventive intervention should target the social environment including social relationships.