Child Maltreatment and Adult Cigarette Smoking: A Long-term Developmental Model

Topitzes, J., Mersky, J.P., Reynolds, A. (2009). Child maltreatment and adult cigarette smoking: A long-term developmental model. Journal of Pediatric Psychology.


To examine: (a) child maltreatment’s association with young adult daily cigarette smoking, (b) variations in this association by gender, and (c) mediators of this association.


For all study participants (N¼1,125, 94% African American), data from multiple sources (e.g., child welfare records) were collected prospectively at child, adolescent, and young adult time points. Authors enlisted multivariate probit regression for objectives a and b versus exploratory and confirmatory mediation strategies for objective c.


Maltreatment was significantly associated with daily cigarette smoking. Although not moderated by gender, this relation was fully mediated by adolescent indicators of family support/stability, social adjustment, and cognitive/school performance along with young adult indicators of educational attainment, life satisfaction, substance abuse, and criminality.


Maltreatment places low-income, minority children at risk for daily cigarette smoking and other deleterious young adult health outcomes. Recommended treatment targets include family support/stability, emotion regulation, social skills, and cognitive/academic functioning.

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