Objectives: Because of concern about tobacco’s effects, and because previous research has been better able to identify predictors of adolescent male smoking, this study sought to identify predictors specifically of smoking in adolescent girls. Identification of predictors facilitates development of targeted interventions. Methods: The sample consisted of respondents to the Massachusetts Substance Abuse Longitudinal Study. Data were collected from about 1000 students between 8th and 12th grades. Generalized Estimating Equations, a method appropriate for longitudinal data, was used to identify whether there were gender differences in the ability to predict smoking. Gender was incorporated as either 1) an interaction term or 2) by testing models separately for boys or girls. The study focused on domains including personal functioning and competency, family structure and process, and substance use. Results: The results of the data analysis do not indicate that there are gender differences in the ability to predict smoking. Although each variable individually predicted smoking, neither the models including the interaction terms nor those testing the gender-specific predictors identified variables specific to adolescent female use of tobacco. In general, the variables had a stronger predictive power for boys than for girls. Conclusions: There has been little consistency in previous research in the identification of gender-specific tobacco use behaviors. It may be that there are no differences between the genders, or it may be that there is a more subtle difference that can be found only with a different perspective than used in this study. Alternative models are discussed.
Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the session, the participant will be able to identify the difficulties in predicting female adolescent tobacco use and future research needs
Keywords: Adolescent Health, Gender
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Bureau of Substance Abuse Services
I have a significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.
Relationship: I am employed under funding coming from SAMHSA CSAT to the Bureau of Substance Abuse Services at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health
The 128th Annual Meeting of APHA