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Childhood self-control predicts smoking throughout life

Title: Childhood self-control predicts smoking throughout life: Evidence from 21,000 cohort study participants.
Name(s): Daly, Michael, author
Egan, Mark, author
Quigley, Jody, author
Delaney, Liam, author
Baumeister, Roy F, author
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Journal Article
Date Issued: 2016-11-01
Physical Form: computer
online resource
Extent: 1 online resource
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: 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. 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. 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. 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. (PsycINFO Database Record
Identifier: FSU_pmch_27607137 (IID), 10.1037/hea0000393 (DOI), PMC5067157 (PMCID), 27607137 (RID), 27607137 (EID), 2016-43130-001 (PII)
Publication Note: This NIH-funded author manuscript originally appeared in PubMed Central at
Subject(s): Adolescent
Cohort Studies
Regression Analysis
Smoking Cessation/psychology
Persistent Link to This Record:
Host Institution: FSU
Is Part Of: Health psychology : official journal of the Division of Health Psychology, American Psychological Association.
Issue: iss. 11, vol. 35

Choose the citation style.
Daly, M., Egan, M., Quigley, J., Delaney, L., & Baumeister, R. F. (2016). Childhood self-control predicts smoking throughout life: Evidence from 21,000 cohort study participants. Health Psychology : Official Journal Of The Division Of Health Psychology, American Psychological Association. Retrieved from