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The effect of depression and peer influences on smoking init

Institution: University of Southern California
Investigator(s): Anamara Ritt-Olson, B.F.A.
Award Cycle: 2001 (Cycle 10) Grant #: 10DT-0162 Award: $53,300
Subject Area: Epidemiology
Award Type: Dissertation Awards
Abstracts

Initial Award Abstract
Cigarette smoking is related to countless physical maladies, and is responsible for huge health care costs in the United States. Prevention efforts to date have had only moderate success. Understanding the predictors of smoking initiation in young adolescents in a multiethnic sample can assist in the creation of better prevention campaigns. Several authors in recent years have suggested that depression causes teens to begin smoking (eg, Breslau, Peterson, Schultz, Cilcoat & Andreski, 1998). Depressed teens are thought to start smoking to deal with their sad feelings. However , recently published studies suggest that smoking causes depression (Goodman & Capitman, 2000; Wu & Anthony, 1999). To gain a more complete understanding of the relationship between smoking and depression, third variable influences should be explored. Looking at additional influences on the relationship may help uncover underlying mechanisms and that in turn will elucidate better means of prevention. Patton and colleagues (1998) suggest that a third variable of interest may be peer influences. This study explores how depression could lead to peer associations that encourage smoking in young adolescents. This study will use social network analyses to aid in the defining of peer influences and in the exploration of how peer clusters can influence smoking patterns. Social Network Analyses reveal peer group members, can identify which students lack friends at a school, and which students are particularly well liked.

Several models will be explored to evaluate the relationship between depression and peers and smoking initiation. Traditional survey data on peers (Perceived Social Norms and number of peers that smoke) will be used along with a social network approach to look at actual peer influences and peer group associations. One possible mechanism is that depressed teens become isolated because they have difficulty making friends. Because they feel isolated they may smoke to deal with feelings of loneliness. Students at the periphery of a social network, referred to as an isolate, will be identified in a given school. Another possible mechanism that puts students at risk may be that depressed students are drawn to groups of friends or cliques that are at risk for smoking. Social network analyses will allow for the identification of cliques and by linking the members to their individual survey data, we will be able to find out which members of the clique smoke. Also, it is entirely possible that teens could associate with peers that put them less at risk for smoking or depression. Certain types of peer associations may be protective. Cliques that are compromised of members that don’t smoke and have low levels of depression may prove to be protective influences.

It is expected that each of these relationships may differ by ethnicity and by gender.
Publications

Exploring peers as a mediator of the association between depression and smoking in young adolescents.
Periodical: Substance Use and Misuse Index Medicus:
Authors: Ritt-Olson A, Nezami E, Unger JB, Chou CP, Valente TW, Trinidad D, Milam JE, et al. ART
Yr: 0 Vol: Nbr: Abs: Pg:

Exploring peers as a mediator of the association between depression and smoking in young adolescents.
Periodical: Substance Use and Misuse Index Medicus:
Authors: Ritt-Olson A, Nezami E, Unger JB, Chou CP, Valente TW, Trinidad D, Milam JE, et al. ART
Yr: 0 Vol: Nbr: Abs: Pg: