Depressive symptoms, gender, and growth in cigarette smoking among indigenous adolescents.
Numerous studies have shown associations between smoking and depression, but the generalizability of the relationship across ethnic groups remains unknown. The present study assessed the association between depression and smoking intention and experimentation among adolescents from four ethnic groups in the Los Angeles area-Chinese/Chinese American, Latino/Hispanic, Persian/Iranian, and White. Over 800 7th graders in the Los Angeles area completed measures of depressive symptoms, experimentation with smoking, intention to smoke, and sociodemographic covariates. Chinese/Chinese American students had the lowest levels of depressive symptoms, whereas Latinos/Hispanics had the highest levels. Latinos/Hispanics also were the most likely to intend to smoke in the next year and were the most likely to have started experimenting with cigarette smoking. Depressive symptoms were significantly associated with intention to smoke even after controlling for language use acculturation, socioeconomic status, gender, and ethnicity. The association between depressive symptoms and intention to smoke did not vary significantly across ethnic groups. These results indicate that the association between depressive symptoms and adolescent smoking generalizes across diverse ethnic groups.