Movie Smoking Exposure and Smoking Onset: A Longitudinal Study of Mediation Processes in a Representative Sample of U.S. Adolescents

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Abstract

The authors tested 2 mechanisms for the relation of movie smoking exposure with onset of cigarette smoking in adolescence. Longitudinal data with 8-month follow-up were obtained from a representative sample of 6,522 U.S. adolescents, ages 10-14 years. Structural modeling analysis based on initial nonsmokers, which controlled for 10 covariates associated with movie exposure, showed that viewing more smoking in movies was related to increases in positive expectancies about smoking and increases in affiliation with smoking peers, and these variables were both related to smoking onset. A direct effect of movie exposure on smoking onset was also noted. Mediation findings were replicated across cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses. Tests for gender differences indicated that girls showed larger effects of movie exposure for some variables. Implications for policy and prevention research are discussed.

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