Childhood Depressive Symptoms and Adolescent Cigarette Use: A Six-Year Longitudinal Study Controlling for Peer Relations Correlates

Mitchell J. Prinstein, Annette M. La Greca

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Scopus citations


Objective: To examine potential pathways between childhood depressive symptoms and adolescent cigarette use, controlling for potential "third variable" causes. Design: Participants included 250 youth (60% girls) who were in Grades 4 to 6 at study outset and in Grades 10 to 12 (M age = 16.78) at a 6-year follow-up. At Time 1, children completed measures of depressive symptoms, as well as peer nominations of peer acceptance, rejection, and aggressive behavior. Main Outcome Measures: Time 2 measures included adolescents' own and close friends' cigarette use, depressive symptoms, and externalizing behaviors; parents also reported on adolescent behaviors. Results: Higher levels of childhood depressive symptoms and aggressive behavior were associated longitudinally with cigarette use in adolescence. After controlling for other associations, higher levels of childhood depressive symptoms also were associated with higher levels of friends' cigarette use in adolescence and higher levels of adolescent depressive symptoms; each of these adolescent outcomes was concurrently associated with cigarette use. Conclusion: Depressive symptoms in childhood may lead to altered developmental trajectories that either directly or indirectly contribute to adolescent outcomes, including cigarette use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)283-291
Number of pages9
JournalHealth Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2009



  • adolescence
  • depressive symptoms
  • nicotine use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Applied Psychology

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