The cognitive tendency toward mindfulness may influence the enactment of health and risk behaviors by its bringing increased attention to and awareness of decision-making processes underlying behavior. The present study examined the moderating effect of trait mindfulness on associations between intentions to smoke (ITS)/smoking refusal self-efficacy (SRSE) and smoking frequency.
Self-reports from Chinese adolescents (N=5,287; M age=16.2, SD=0.7; 48.8% female) were collected in 24 schools. Smoking frequency was regressed on latent factor interactions MAAS*ITS and MAAS*SRSE, adjusting for school clustering effects and covariates.
Both interaction terms were significant in cross-sectional analyses and showed high ITS predicted higher smoking frequency among those low relative to high in trait mindfulness while low SRSE predicted higher smoking frequency among those low relative to high in trait mindfulness.
Findings suggest trait mindfulness possibly shields against decision-making processes that place adolescents at risk for smoking.
Mindfulness; cigarette smoking; intentions to smoke; smoking refusal self-efficacy
This study investigates the relationship between three different cognitive processes underlying the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT) and adolescent smoking behaviors in a longitudinal study. We conducted a longitudinal study of 181 Chinese adolescents in Chengdu City, China. The participants were followed from 10th to 11th grade. When they were in the 10th grade (Time 1), we tested these adolescents' decision-making using the IGT and working memory capacity using the Self-ordered Pointing Test (SOPT). Self-report questionnaires were used to assess school academic performance and smoking behaviors. The same questionnaires were completed again at the 1-year follow-up (Time 2). The Expectancy-Valence (EV) Model was applied to distill the IGT performance into three different underlying psychological components: (i) a motivational component which indicates the subjective weight the adolescents assign to gains vs. losses; (ii) a learning-rate component which indicates the sensitivity to recent outcomes vs. past experiences; and (iii) a response component which indicates how consistent the adolescents are between learning and responding. The subjective weight to gains vs. losses at Time 1 significantly predicted current smokers and current smoking levels at Time 2, controlling for demographic variables and baseline smoking behaviors. Therefore, by decomposing the IGT into three different psychological components, we found that the motivational process of weight gain vs. losses may serve as a neuropsychological marker to predict adolescent smoking behaviors in a general youth population.
adolescents; smoking; decision-making; EV model; Iowa Gambling Task (IGT); longitudinal study
Mindfulness refers to an enhanced attention to and awareness of present moment experience. This study examined how trait mindfulness, as measured with six items from Mindfulness Attention Awareness Scale, might influence adolescent cigarette smoking frequency through its impact on depressive affect, anger affect and perceived stress mediators. Self-reported data from Chinese adolescents (N = 5287, mean age = 16.2 years, SD = 0.7; 48.8% females) were collected within 24 schools. The product of coefficients test was used to determine significant mediation paths. Results from baseline cross-sectional data indicated that trait mindfulness had a significant indirect effect on past 30-day smoking frequency through depressive affect, anger affect and perceived stress mediators. Results from 13-month longitudinal data indicated that these indirect effects remained significant for depressive affect and perceived stress but not for anger affect. Findings from this study may suggest that heightening mindfulness among adolescents may indirectly reduce cigarette smoking perhaps by improving affect regulation competencies.
Mindfulness; affect regulation; smoking; mediation; adolescents
The Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS) has the longest empirical track record as a valid measure of trait mindfulness. Most of what is understood about trait mindfulness comes from administering the MAAS to relatively homogenous samples of Caucasian adults. This study rigorously evaluates the psychometric properties of the MAAS among Chinese adolescents attending high school in Chengdu, China. Classrooms from 24 schools were randomly selected to participate in the study. Three waves of longitudinal data (N = 5,287 students) were analyzed. MAAS construct, nomological, and incremental validity were evaluated as well as its measurement invariance across gender using latent factor analyses. Participants’ mean age was 16.2 years (SD = 0.7), and 51% were male. The 15-item MAAS had adequate fit to the one-dimensional factor structure at Wave 1, and this factor structure was replicated at Wave 2. A 6-item short scale of the MAAS fit well to the data at Wave 3. The MAAS maintained reliability (Cronbach’s α = .89–.93; test–restest r = .35–.52), convergent/discriminant validity, and explained additional variance in mental health measures beyond other psychosocial constructs. Both the 15- and 6-item MAAS scales displayed at least partial factorial invariance across gender. The findings suggest that the MAAS is a sound measure of trait mindfulness among Chinese adolescents. To reduce respondent burden, the MAAS 6-item short-scale provides an option to measure trait mindfulness.
Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS); latent factor analysis; construct validity; Chinese; adolescents
The goal of the current investigation was to address whether affective decision making would serve as a unique neuropsychological marker to predict drinking behaviors among adolescents. We conducted a longitudinal study of 181 Chinese adolescents in Chengdu city, China. In their 10th grade (ages 15–16), these adolescents were tested for their affective decision-making ability using the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT) and working memory capacity using the Self-Ordered Pointing Test. Self-report questionnaires were used to assess academic performance and drinking behaviors. At 1-year follow-up, questionnaires were completed to assess drinking behaviors, and the UPPS Impulsive Behavior Scale was used to examine four dimensions of impulsivity: urgency, lack of premeditation, lack of perseverance, and sensation seeking. Results indicated that those adolescents who progressed to binge drinking or exhibited consistent binge drinking not only performed poorly on the IGT but also scored significantly higher in urgency compared to those who never or occasionally drank. Moreover, better IGT scores predicted fewer drinking problems and fewer drinks 1 year later after controlling for demographic variables, the previous drinking behaviors, working memory, and impulsivity. These findings suggest that deficits in affective decision making may be important independent determinants of compulsive drinking and potentially addictive behavior in adolescents.
Executive function; Affective control; Impulsivity; Working memory; Binge drinking; Iowa Gambling Task
To develop more effective anti-smoking programs, it is important to understand the factors that influence people to smoke. Guided by attribution theory, a longitudinal study was conducted to investigate how individuals’ cognitive attributions for smoking were associated with subsequent smoking development and through which pathways.
Middle and high school students in seven large cities in China (N=12,382; 48.5% boys and 51.5% girls) completed two annual surveys. Associations between cognitive attributions for smoking and subsequent smoking initiation and progression were tested with multilevel analysis, taking into account plausible moderation effects of gender and baseline smoking status. Mediation effects of susceptibility to smoking were investigated using statistical mediation analysis (MacKinnon, 2008).
Six out of eight tested themes of cognitive attributions were associated with subsequent smoking development. Curiosity (β=0.11, p<0.001) and autonomy (β=0.08, p=0.019) were associated with smoking initiation among baseline non-smokers. Coping (β=0.07, p<0.001) and social image (β=0.10, p=<.0001) were associated with smoking progression among baseline lifetime smokers. Social image (β=0.05, p=0.043), engagement (β=0.07, p=0.003), and mental enhancement (β=0.15, p<0.001) were associated with smoking progression among baseline past 30-day smokers. More attributions were associated with smoking development among males than among females. Susceptibility to smoking partially mediated most of the associations, with the proportion of mediated effects ranging from 4.3% to 30.8%.
This study identifies the roles that cognitive attributions for smoking play in subsequent smoking development. These attributions could be addressed in smoking prevention programs.
Attributions; Smoking; Attribution Theory; Adolescents; China
Despite the well established influence of peer experiences on adolescent attitudes, thoughts, and behaviors, surprisingly little research has examined the importance of peer context and the increased prevalence of depressive symptoms accompanying the transition into adolescence. Examination of social networks may provide some insight into the role of peers in the vulnerability of some adolescents to depression. To address this issue, we leveraged an existing sample of 5,563 Chinese 10th graders to incorporate social network data into a multilevel regression model of depressive symptoms. We found that, in this sample, being nominated as a friend was more important than being nominated as most liked. Social network centrality was significantly associated with depression; those adolescents who were less connected were more likely to suffer from depression. The risk of depression for those who were marginal members of classroom social networks was substantial. These findings suggest that a social network perspective could help to increase the effectiveness of programs aimed at preventing adolescent depression.
Social Network; Adolescent; Depressive Symptoms; Peer relations; China
The primary aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that adolescent binge drinkers, but not lighter drinkers, would show signs of impairment on tasks of affective decision-making as measured by the Iowa Gambling Test (IGT), when compared to adolescents who never drank.
We tested 207 10th grade adolescents in Chengdu City, China, using two versions of the IGT, the original and a variant, in which the reward/punishment contingencies were reversed. This enables one to distinguish among different possibilities of impaired decision-making, such as insensitivity to long-term consequences, or hypersensitivity to reward. Furthermore, we tested working memory capacity using the Self-ordered Pointing Test (SOPT). Paper and pencil questionnaires were used to assess drinking behaviors and school academic performance.
Results indicated that relative to never-drinkers, adolescent binge drinkers, but not other (ever, past 30-day) drinkers, showed significantly lower net scores on the original version of the IGT especially in the latter trials. Furthermore, the profiles of behavioral performance from the original and variant versions of the IGT were consistent with a decision-making impairment attributed to hypersensitivity to reward. In addition, working memory and school academic performance revealed no differences between drinkers (at all levels) and never-drinkers. Logistic regression analysis showed that after controlling for demographic variables, working memory, and school academic performance, the IGT significantly predicted binge-drinking.
These findings suggest that a “myopia” for future consequences linked to hypersensitivity to reward is a key characteristic of adolescents with binge-drinking behavior, and that underlying neural mechanisms for this “myopia” for future consequences may serve as a predisposing factor that renders some adolescents more susceptible to future addictive behaviors.
Executive function; Affective control; Reward; Working memory; Adolescent drinking; Iowa Gambling Test
The goal of this study was to investigate how parents’ engagement of their child in everyday decision-making influenced their adolescent’s development on two neuropsychological functions, namely, affective decision-making and working memory, and its effect on adolescent binge-drinking behavior.
We conducted a longitudinal study of 192 Chinese adolescents. In 10th grade, the adolescents were tested for their affective decision-making ability using the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT) and working memory capacity using the Self-ordered Pointing Test (SOPT). Questionnaires were used to assess perceived parent-child engagement in decision-making, academic performance and drinking behavior. At one-year follow-up, the same neuropsychological tasks and questionnaires were repeated.
Results indicate that working memory and academic performance were uninfluenced by parent-child engagement in decision-making. However, compared to adolescents whose parents made solitary decisions for them, adolescents engaged in everyday decision-making showed significant improvement on affective decision capacity and significantly less binge-drinking one year later.
These findings suggest that parental engagement of children in everyday decision-making might foster the development of neurocognitive functioning relative to affective decision-making and reduce adolescent substance use behaviors.
Although previous investigations have indicated a role for genetic factors in smoking initiation, the underlying genetic mechanisms are still unknown. In 2,339 adolescents from a Chinese Han population in the Wuhan Smoking Prevention Trial (Wuhan, China, 1998–1999), the authors explored the association of 57 genes in the dopamine pathway with smoking initiation. Using a conservative approach for declaring significance, positive findings were further examined in an independent sample of 603 Caucasian adolescents followed for up to 10 years as part of the Children's Health Study (Southern California, 1993–2009). The authors identified 1 single nucleotide polymorphism (rs2298122) in the calcyon neuron-specific vesicular protein gene (CALY) that was positively associated with smoking initiation in females (odds ratio = 2.21, 95% confidence interval: 1.49, 3.27; P = 8.4 × 10−5) in the Wuhan Smoking Prevention Trial cohort, and they replicated the association in females from the Children's Health Study cohort (hazard rate ratio = 2.05, 95% confidence interval: 1.27, 3.31; P = 0.003). These results suggest that the CALY gene may influence smoking initiation in adolescents, although the potential roles of underlying psychological characteristics that may be components of the smoking-initiation phenotype, such as impulsivity or novelty-seeking, remain to be explored.
adolescent; dopamine; genetic association studies; smoking
Smoking prevention interventions have been shown to be effective in reducing smoking prevalence in the United States. Further work is needed to address smoking in China, where over one third of the world’s current smokers reside. China, with more than 60% of the male population being smokers, also presents a unique opportunity to test cognitive processes involved in depression, social influences, and smoking. Adolescents at-risk for developing depression may process social information differently from low-risk counterparts.
The Wuhan Smoking Prevention Trial was a school-based longitudinal randomized controlled trial aimed at preventing initiation and escalation of adolescent smoking behaviors. Thousand three hundred and ninety-one male seventh-grade students were assessed with a 200-item paper-and-pencil baseline survey, and it was readministered 1 year later following program implementation.
Friend prevalence estimates were significantly higher among 30-day smokers and among those at highest risk for depression symptoms. The program appeared to be successful in changing the perception of friend smoking prevalence only among adolescents with a comorbidity of high scores of depression symptoms and who have experimented previously with smoking. This Program × Comorbidity interaction on perceived friend smoking prevalence was significant in predicting 30-day smoking 1 year after program implementation.
This study provides evidence that those adolescents with high levels of depressive symptoms may be more sensitive to social influences associated with smoking prevalence. Individual Disposition × Social Environmental Influences may be important when developing future effective prevention programming.
This study examined a proposed mechanism by which exposure to cigarette advertising may mediate the subsequent smoking of youth. We hypothesized that children’s exposure to cigarette advertising leads them to overestimate the prevalence of smoking, and that these distorted perceptions, in turn, lead to increased intentions to smoke. Children in Finland, where there has been a total tobacco advertising ban since 1978, were compared with children in the United States at a time when tobacco advertising was ubiquitous. Samples of 477 8- to 14-year-old Helsinki students and 453 8- to 14-year-old Los Angeles students whose lifetime cigarette use consisted of no more than a puff of a cigarette were administered questionnaires in their classrooms. The primary hypothesis was confirmed. Los Angeles youth were significantly more likely than Helsinki youth to overestimate the prevalence of adult smoking, in spite of the fact that actual adult smoking prevalence in Helsinki was almost twice that of Los Angeles adults. A similar, significant pattern for perceived peer smoking was obtained, with Los Angeles youth being more likely than Helsinki youth to overestimate prevalence, in spite of the actual greater prevalence of youth smoking in Helsinki.
To prospectively investigate associations between overweight and depressive symptoms in Asian and Hispanic adolescents.
Data included 780 Hispanic and 375 Asian students. Structural equation model was used to prospectively explore moderation effects of gender, ethnicity, and acculturation on associations of overweight, body image dissatisfaction, and depressive symptoms.
Significant mediation effect was found only in Asian girls (mediation effect=0.16, P<0.05) and girls with high acculturation (mediation effect=0.17, P<0.05). Overweight significantly predicted higher body image dissatisfaction, which in turn was significantly related to depressive symptoms.
Our findings help understanding the association of overweight and experience of depressive symptoms.
overweight; depressive symptoms; body image; acculturation
Exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) is a widespread source of nicotine exposure, and an estimated 540 million Chinese are exposed to ETS in mainland China. We aimed to investigate associations of ETS exposure and metabolic syndrome (MetS) as well as its individual components independent of active smoking status in Chinese adults.
A cross-sectional data of 304 randomly selected Chinese households with fourth (elementary school) and seventh (middle school) graders in Qingdao city was used. Assessments of fat mass, metabolic biomarkers, personal history of illness, and health behaviors were conducted.
Proportions of current smokers were 3% in women and 60.5% in men, and more men reported exposure to ETS 5–7 days per week than women (60.8% vs. 48.1%). Exposure to ETS was significantly associated with enhanced risks of MetS (odds ratio [OR] = 2.8, p = .01), hypertriglyceridemia (OR = 2.1, p = .02), and central obesity (OR = 2.7, p < .001) and reduced levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (OR = 1.9, p = .02) and elevated mean levels of fasting insulin (p < .01). These observed associations were independent of active smoking status and were successfully replicated in female never-smokers.
Results of our study support the hypothesis that ETS exposure is independently associated with MetS and its individual components. Further large-scale studies with longitudinal design and objective assessment of ETS exposure are needed to elucidate the underlying mechanisms and the causal effects of passive smoking on MetS. Findings of this work emphasize the importance of developing community intervention to reduce smoking, ETS, and promote healthy lifestyle.
To design more effective health communication messages for smoking cessation and prevention, it is important to understand people’s own perceptions of the factors that influence their decisions to smoke. Studies have examined cognitive attributions for smoking in Western countries but not in the Chinese cultural context. In a study of 14,434 Chinese adolescents, exploratory factor analysis grouped 17 cognitive attributions into 8 factors: curiosity, coping, social image, social belonging, engagement, autonomy, mental enhancement, and weight control. The factors were ranked based on the participants’ self-reports of importance and by the strength of their associations with smoking behavior. Among all smokers, curiosity was the most frequently-ranked attribution factor at the early stages of smoking but not for daily smoking. Coping was highly-ranked across smoking stages. Social image and social belonging were more highly-ranked at earlier stages, whereas engagement and mental enhancement were ranked more highly at later stages of smoking. More attributions were associated with smoking among males than among females. This information could be useful for the development of evidence-based anti-smoking programs in China.
Attributions; Smoking; Attribution Theory; Adolescents; China
This study addressed the question of whether poor decision making would be associated with adolescent past 7-day smoking. We conducted a cross-sectional study of 208 10th-grade adolescents in Chengdu City, China. We used the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT) to assess decision-making, and the Self-ordered Pointing Task (SOPT) to assess working memory capacity. Paper and pencil questionnaires assessed the school academic performance (SAP) and smoking variables. The results showed that a significantly higher proportion of past 7-day smokers (91.7%) were susceptible to future smoking and cigarette offers from best friends compared to other levels of smokers (never, ever and past 30-day smokers). Consistent with these behavioral data, the neuropsychological assessments revealed that relative to never smokers, past 7-day adolescent smokers (but not ever smokers or past 30-day smokers) demonstrated significantly lower scores on the IGT. Moreover, a higher proportion of past 7-day smokers (91.7%) performed poorly (no more than an overall net score of 10) on the IGT than nonsmokers and irregular (ever or past 30-day) smokers (about 65.3%). There were no differences on working memory performance for smokers (at any level) compared to never smokers after adjusting for school-type. In addition, logistic regression showed that the IGT significantly predicted past 7-day smoking after controlling for the working memory, school academic performance and demographic variables. These results suggest that poor affective decision making might predispose some adolescents to smoking in the future or in the social situations where their peers are smoking. Intervention targeting affective decision making might hold promise for reducing adolescents’ risks for substance use.
Socioeconomic status (SES) has been associated with smoking among adolescents, but it is not known which attributes of SES are responsible for the added risk, or whether these associations are consistent in ethnically diverse samples.
This study investigated the associations between SES variables and smoking behavior among an ethnically diverse sample of 1847 8th-grade adolescents in Southern California in 2002. Several aspects of SES were examined: an objective composite measure of family and neighborhood SES, the adolescent’s spending money, and the adolescent’s perception of SES (family’s ability to afford basic necessities, wealth relative to others, and wealth relative to last year).
After controlling for demographic characteristics, smoking behavior of parents and friends, and parental monitoring, low scores on the objective SES index and large amounts of pocket money were associated with an increased risk of smoking.The subjective measures of perceived SES were not associated with smoking.
Results indicate that increased smoking prevention efforts are needed in low-SES areas, and that limiting adolescents’ pocket money may be an effective strategy for preventing smoking.
smoking; adolescence; socioeconomic status
Cigarette smoking and coal burning are the primary sources of indoor air pollution in Chinese households. However, effects of these exposures on Chinese children's respiratory health are not well characterized.
Seventh grade students (N = 5051) from 22 randomly selected schools in the greater metropolitan area of Wuhan, China, completed an in-class self-administered questionnaire on their respiratory health and home environment.
Coal burning for cooking and/or heating increased odds of wheezing with colds [odds ratio (OR) = 1.57, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.07–2.29] and without colds (OR = 1.44, 95% CI: 1.05–1.97). For smoking in the home, the strongest associations were seen for cough (OR = 1.74, 95% CI: 1.17–2.60) and phlegm production (OR = 2.25, 95% CI: 1.36–3.72) without colds among children who lived with two or more smokers.
Chinese children living with smokers or in coal-burning homes are at increased risk for respiratory impairment. While economic development in China may decrease coal burning by providing cleaner fuels for household energy use, the increasing prevalence of cigarette smoking is a growing public health concern due to its effects on children. Adverse effects of tobacco smoke exposure were seen despite the low rates of maternal smoking (3.6%) in this population.
To investigate associations of overweight status and perception with trajectories of psychological distress in adolescents.
Longitudinal data for 6,970 Chinese adolescents were included. The multivariate Curve-of-Factor Latent Growth Curve Models were adopted to examine trajectories of psychological distress symptoms and associations with overweight status and perception.
After controlling for actual overweight status, psychological distress symptoms were weakly but significantly associated with overweight perception (γ=0.08 for boys and γ=0.10 for girls, P<0.05) and misperception (γ=0.06 for boys and γ=0.09 for girls, P<0.05).
Our findings help understanding associations of overweight perception and psychological well being of adolescents.
weight perception; Chinese adolescents; psychological distress
Chronic, noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) have surpassed infectious diseases as the primary cause of death and disability in most developing nations. Nowhere is this more evident than in China where NCDs account for 80% of all deaths and skyrocketing medical costs. Driving the escalation of NCDs are high rates of tobacco use, longer life spans, and changes in the traditional Chinese diet and lifestyle bolstered by unprecedented economic growth and the new global culture. Despite the epidemic of NCDs, few evidence-based interventions either to prevent or retard their progression exist in China. We present a case for the development and adoption of such strategies as effective tools to combat China’s greatest health threat. Finally, we offer an example of a collaborative network linking Chinese public health and academic institutions with US researchers to promote the translation of western evidence-based interventions that fully incorporate local knowledge, culture, and capacity.
Noncommunicable disease; Tobacco control; China; Evidence-based