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The 13th World Conference on Tobacco OR Health
Building capacity for a tobacco-free world
July 12-15, 2006, Washington, DC, USA
Objective: The relation between depression and smoking behavior in adolescents is well studied in cross-sectional data. Smokers report more depressive symptoms than their non-smoking peers. Longitudinal data are less clear about the relationship between smoking and depressive symptoms. The aim of this study is to compare depressive symptoms of smokers and non-smokers participating in the smoking prevention and cessation intervention “Smoke Alert” and to describe the relationship between smoking and depression.
Methods: 2,056 Dutch adolescents between 14 and 18 years old have enrolled in the smoking prevention and cessation intervention "Smoke Alert" and completed baseline questionnaires. Depressive mood was measured by six items using a 4-point scale (0=never; 4= always) and assessed how often adolescents were bothered by several states (e.g. ‘feeling unhappy, sad or depressed'). Other factors measured were nicotine dependence and beliefs about smoking (pro's and cons). Smokers and non-smokers were compared with regard to their depressive moods using multivariate analyses. Gender and age were included as covariates.
Results: Analyses of baseline data revealed that smokers reported significantly higher levels of depressive mood than non-smokers (p<.05) on all items except on ‘feeling nervous or tense'. Nicotine dependence appeared not to be related to depressive mood. Adolescents who were more depressed were more convinced of the advantages of smoking, e.g. that smoking helps to feel relaxed and calm nerves. Data collection is still ongoing and results of the analyses of longitudinal data will be presented at the conference.