Tob Control 7:409-420 doi:10.1136/tc.7.4.409
  • Review article

Psychosocial factors related to adolescent smoking: a critical review of the literature

  1. Suzanne L Tyasa,
  2. Linda L Pedersonb
  1. aCentre on Aging, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, bDepartment of Community Health and Preventive Medicine, Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
  1. Dr LL Pederson, Department of Community Health and Preventive Medicine, Morehouse School of Medicine, 720 Westview Drive, SW, Atlanta, Georgia 30310, USA;lindap{at}


    OBJECTIVE To extend the analysis of psychosocial risk factors for smoking presented in the United States surgeon general’s 1994 report on smoking and health, and to propose a theoretical frame of reference for understanding the development of smoking.

    DATA SOURCES General Science Index, Medline, PsycLIT, Sociofile, Sociological Abstracts, and Smoking and Health. Holdings of the Addiction Research Foundation of Ontario Library as well as the authors’ personal files.

    STUDY SELECTION Reviewed literature focused on studies that examined the association of sociodemographic, environmental, behavioural, and personal variables with smoking.

    DATA SYNTHESIS Adolescent smoking was associated with age, ethnicity, family structure, parental socioeconomic status, personal income, parental smoking, parental attitudes, sibling smoking, peer smoking, peer attitudes and norms, family environment, attachment to family and friends, school factors, risk behaviours, lifestyle, stress, depression/distress, self-esteem, attitudes, and health concerns. It is unclear whether adolescent smoking is related to other psychosocial variables.

    CONCLUSIONS Attempts should be made to use common definitions of outcome and predictor variables. Analyses should include multivariate and bivariate models, with some attempt in the multivariate models to test specific hypotheses. Future research should be theory driven and consider the range of possible factors, such as social, personal, economic, environmental, biological, and physiological influences, that may influence smoking behaviour. The apparent inconsistencies in relationships between parental socioeconomic status and adolescent disposable income need to be resolved as does the underlying constructs for which socioeconomic status is a proxy.

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