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Childhood Self-control Predicts Smoking Throughout Life

Title: Childhood Self-control Predicts Smoking Throughout Life.
Name(s): Daly, Michael, author
Egan, Mark, author
Quigley, Jody, author
Delaney, Liam, author
Baumeister, Roy F., author
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Text
Date Issued: 2016-11
Physical Form: computer
online resource
Extent: 1 online resource
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: Objective: Low self-control has been linked with smoking, yet it remains unclear whether childhood self-control underlies the emergence of lifetime smoking patterns. We examined the contribution of childhood self-control to early smoking initiation and smoking across adulthood. Methods: 21,132 participants were drawn from 2 nationally representative cohort studies; the 1970 British Cohort Study (BCS) and the 1958 National Child Development Study (NCDS). Child self-control was teacher-rated at age 10 in the BCS and at ages 7 and 11 in the NCDS. Participants reported their smoking status and number of cigarettes smoked per day at 5 time-points in the BCS (ages 26-42) and 6 time-points in the NCDS (ages 23-55). Both studies controlled for socioeconomic background, cognitive ability, psychological distress, gender, and parental smoking; the NCDS also controlled for an extended set of background characteristics. Results: Early self-control made a substantial graded contribution to (not) smoking throughout life. In adjusted regression models, a 1-SD increase in self-control predicted a 6.9 percentage point lower probability of smoking in the BCS, and this was replicated in the NCDS (5.2 point reduced risk). Adolescent smoking explained over half of the association between self-control and adult smoking. Childhood self-control was positively related to smoking cessation and negatively related to smoking initiation, relapse to smoking, and the number of cigarettes smoked in adulthood. Conclusions: This study provides strong evidence that low childhood self-control predicts an increased risk of smoking throughout adulthood and points to adolescent smoking as a key pathway through which this may occur.
Identifier: FSU_libsubv1_wos_000386448700010 (IID), 10.1037/hea0000393 (DOI)
Keywords: 2 british cohort, behaviors, children, conduct problems, Conscientiousness, Executive functions, health, longitudinal research, metaanalysis, personality, personality-traits, self-control, Smoking, substance use, tobacco use
Publication Note: The publisher's version of record is available at
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Host Institution: FSU
Is Part Of: Health Psychology.
Issue: iss. 11, vol. 35

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Daly, M., Egan, M., Quigley, J., Delaney, L., & Baumeister, R. F. (2016). Childhood Self-control Predicts Smoking Throughout Life. Health Psychology. Retrieved from