Date of Degree
PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Psychological and Quantitative Foundations
First Committee Member
Vispoel, Walter P.
Second Committee Member
Assouline, Susan L.
Third Committee Member
Fourth Committee Member
Cigarette smoking and depressive symptoms are two problems that affect adolescents’ health. Although it has been well-documented that a relationship exists between these two concerns, most researchers have used self-report methods to study smoking behaviors. While adolescents are typically accurate when reporting depressive symptoms, they tend to be less accurate reporting smoking. Moreover, research supporting the Prototype Willingness Model (PWM) has shown that the social cognitions of willingness to smoke, and the prototypes or images of smokers are predictors of smoking in adolescents. Little is known about the association between social cognitions and depressive symptoms in adolescence.
In this study, I examined the relationship between cigarette smoking and depressive symptoms in high school students using a biological measure of cigarette smoking. First, I investigated whether depressive symptoms and cigarette smoking were related in a sample of 440 high school sophomore students from Iowa. Then, using data from 264 of the same participants, I examined whether smoking during or before the sophomore year of high school predicted depressive symptoms a year later when participants were in their junior year of high school. Conversely, I also examined whether depressive symptoms during the sophomore year of high school predicted cigarette smoking in the junior year of high school. Finally, I studied the relationship between social cognitions (i.e., prototypes and willingness) and depressive symptoms. An additional section explored whether the social cognitions predicted cigarette smoking.
The findings did not provide evidence supporting a relationship between cigarette smoking and depressive symptoms when smoking was measured by a biological measure. Only self-report of smoking cigarettes significantly predicted depressive symptoms during the sophomore year of high school. Cigarette smoking during or before the sophomore year of high school did not predict depressive symptoms a year later. Similarly, depressive symptoms reported in the sophomore year of high school did not predict cigarette smoking a year later. For the social cognitions, willingness to engage in smoking behaviors and the prototypes or images adolescents have about teenagers who smoke were significantly associated with depressive symptoms. Only willingness to engage in smoking behaviors was a significant predictor of cigarette smoking. These results support the idea that the relationship between depressive symptoms and cigarette smoking varies when using different methodologies to assess smoking status. Also, the finding that social cognitions correlates with depressive symptoms could motivate further investigation. This work can also alert adults about other ways in which elevated depressive symptoms in adolescents may influence their perceptions.
cigarette smoking, depressive symptoms, social cognitions
x, 99 pages
Includes bibliographical references (pages 84-99).
Copyright © 2019 Wilbeth Lugo-Morales
Lugo-Morales, Wilbeth. "Cigarette smoking, depressive symptoms, and social cognitions: an examination of their intercorrelationships among high school students." PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) thesis, University of Iowa, 2019.