Developmental Trajectories of Cigarette Smoking and Their Correlates from Early Adolescence to Young Adulthood

Published in: Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, v. 72, no. 3, June 2004, p. 400-410

Posted on on January 01, 2004

by Maria Orlando Edelen, Joan S. Tucker, Phyllis L. Ellickson, David J. Klein

Read More

Access further information on this document at

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.

Smoking initiation typically occurs in adolescence and increases over time into emerging adulthood. Thus adolescence and emerging adulthood compose a critical time period for prevention and intervention efforts. To inform these efforts, this study used latent growth mixture modeling to identify 6 smoking trajectories from ages 13 to 23 among 5,914 individuals: nonsmokers (28%), stable highs (6%), early increasers (10%), late increasers (10%), decreasers (6%), and triers (40%). By age 23, the trajectories merged into 2 distinct groups of low- and high-frequency and their standing on age 23 outcomes reflected this grouping. Consideration of these results can help researchers identify at-risk individuals before their smoking becomes too problematic, providing an opportunity for intervention and possible prevention of nicotine dependence.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.