Journal Article

Early Childhood Misbehavior and the Estimated Risk of Becoming Tobacco-dependent

Carla L. Storr, Beth A. Reboussin and James C. Anthony

in American Journal of Epidemiology

Published on behalf of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Volume 160, issue 2, pages 126-130
Published in print July 2004 | ISSN: 0002-9262
Published online July 2004 | e-ISSN: 1476-6256 | DOI:
Early Childhood Misbehavior and the Estimated Risk of Becoming Tobacco-dependent

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In this study, the authors focused on signs of early childhood misbehavior that might be linked to the risk of becoming tobacco-dependent. Standardized teacher ratings of misbehavior were obtained for an epidemiologic sample of first graders entering an urban mid-Atlantic public school system in 1985 and 1986. Fifteen years later, 1,692 of the students were reassessed (nearly 75% of the original sample). As adults, 962 participants indicated that they had tried tobacco at least once; 66% of the 962 had become daily users. Latent class analysis of items on the Fagerström Test for Nicotine Dependence gave evidence of three classes pertinent to tobacco dependence syndrome in smokers by young adulthood: one nondependent class of smokers (50% of smokers), a class of smokers experiencing a moderate number of dependence features (31%), and a third class that was more severely affected (19%), as manifest in the need to smoke immediately after waking and smoking when ill. With or without adjustment for covariates, higher levels of teacher-rated childhood misbehavior at entry into primary school were associated with a modest excess risk of becoming tobacco-dependent by young adulthood (risk ratio = 1.6, 95% confidence interval: 1.1, 2.5). Interventions that seek to improve childhood behavior might reduce early onset tobacco smoking and risk of tobacco dependence among smokers.

Keywords: behavior; child; cohort studies; longitudinal studies; risk; smoking; tobacco use disorder; Abbreviation: FTND, Fagerström Test for Nicotine Dependence.

Journal Article.  3377 words. 

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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