Stages of smoking: An examination of parental and peer influences in a sample of Caucasian, African American, and Hispanic adolescents
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This study used latent profile analysis to identify stages of adolescent cigarette smoking, and examined whether a variety of social and cognitive risk factors operated as common or unique predictors of different stages of smoking. Potential ethnic differences among Caucasian, African-American, and Hispanic youth were also examined. The study utilized a large (N=16770) nationally representative sample of 12–17 year olds. Results indicated four distinct stages of smoking that included nonsmokers, experimental smokers, moderate-situational smokers, and heavy-addicted smokers. There was evidence that in comparison with the later stages of smoking, experimental smokers were more susceptible to social influences. Friend cigarette use, parental disapproval of smoking, and negative beliefs about smoking were associated with each stage of smoking. Parental control on the other hand, predicted two of the smoking stages (i.e., experimental, moderate-situational). Few predictors were found to be unique to a particular stage of smoking and one variable was unrelated to the outcome. Finally, limited support was observed for cognitive variables mediating social influences and for ethnic differences in predictors of smoking. Implications for intervention, prevention, and future research were also discussed.