Nicotine Dependence Subtypes Among Adolescent Smokers: Examining the Occurrence, Development and Validity of Distinct Symptom Profiles


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Abstract

To increase understanding of the etiology and epidemiology of nicotine dependence among adolescent smokers, the present study examined the occurrence and development of distinct nicotine dependence symptom profiles in a sample of adolescent smokers. A total of 25 secondary schools throughout the Netherlands participated in a 1-year longitudinal study. Multiple dimensions of nicotine dependence were assessed, at two time points, among 641 adolescents (aged 14–17 years) who were classified as smokers. Results showed 4 distinct, yet stable, nicotine dependence subtypes that could be characterized by quantitative as well as qualitative differences. The symptom profiles were similar for males and females but differentially associated with previously identified correlates of nicotine dependence, namely parental smoking, peer smoking, and depressive mood. Finally, differential links of the 4 subtypes were found with regard to smoking uptake and cessation. The finding of qualitative different subgroups of adolescent smokers may have important implications for intervention efforts regarding nicotine dependence and smoking cessation. Such efforts may need to be tailored to the specific subgroups’ needs.

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