Smoker Identity Development Among Adolescents Who Smoke


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Abstract

Adolescents who smoke are more likely to escalate their smoking frequency if they believe smoking is self-defining. Knowing factors that are associated with development of a smoker identity among adolescents who smoke may help to identify who will become a regular smoker. We investigated whether smoker identity development is associated with internal and external motives for smoking. For comparison, we also investigated whether social smoker identity development is associated with internal and external motives for smoking. Adolescents who smoke (n = 292) completed measures of smoker and social smoker identity, internal motives for smoking (negative affect coping, positive affect enhancement), and external motives for smoking (social fit) at baseline, 6-, 15-, and 24-month assessments of an ongoing longitudinal study of smoking patterns. We examined whether change in smoker and social smoker identity from 6 to 24 months was associated with change in motives at earlier assessment waves. We also explored whether gender moderated these relationships. Increases in negative affect coping motives were associated with smoker identity development among both males and females. Increases in social motives were associated with smoker identity development among males, and increases in negative affect coping motives were associated with social smoker identity development among females. Smoker and social smoker identities are signaled by negative affect coping as well as social motives for smoking.

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