Childhood self-control predicts smoking throughout life: Evidence from 21,000 cohort study participants

[Speaker] Daly, Michael:1
1:University of Stirling (United Kingdom)

The extent to which childhood self-control underlies the emergence and persistence of lifetime smoking is currently unknown. Participants (N = 21,000) were drawn from two nationally-representative British prospective birth cohort studies. Child self-control was teacher-rated at age 10 and smoking was reported at five time-points throughout adulthood in Study 1 (ages 26-42) and six time-points in Study 2 (ages 23-55). Childhood self-control made a substantial contribution to smoking throughout life after adjustment for gender, social class, intelligence, psychological distress, and parental smoking. In adjusted regression models, a 1 standard deviation increase in self-control predicted a 5.5 percentage point higher probability of smoking. In Study 1, 28.5% of low self-control children (-1 SD) were daily smokers compared to 16.7% of high self-control children (+1 SD) and this was replicated in Study 2 (27.6% vs. 17.4%). This study provides strong evidence that childhood self-control predicts daily smoking throughout adulthood.
Advanced Search