Gender differences in depression and smoking among youth in Cape Town, South Africa

Anita F. Fernander, Alan J. Flisher, Gary King, Farzad Noubary, Carl Lombard, Mystique Price, Derek Chalton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Objective: Gender differences in the association between depression and smoking has received inconsistent support among youth in national samples in the United States and other countries. However, the examination of depression and smoking among South African male and female youth has not been sufficiently studied. This paper examines gender differences in the association between depression, racially classified social group (RCSG) status, social amenities, and grade level with smoking among South African youth in Cape Town. Design: Six-hundred twenty students completed a questionnaire on socio-demographic characteristics, smoking, and depression. Separate logistic regression procedures were conducted by gender to assess significant variations in correlates of ever smoker versus never smoker status and current smoker versus nonsmoker status. Variables included in the models were Beck Depression Inventory scores, RCSG, social amenities, and grade level. Results: Primary analyses revealed that among girls, mild and severe depression were significant predictors of ever smoking status. In addition, girls who suffered from mild, moderate, and severe forms of depression were more likely to be current smokers than nonsmokers. Among boys, depression was not a significant predictor of smoking status. Conclusions: The results support the need to incorporate mental health education strategies into smoking intervention programs, especially among school girls in Cape Town, South Africa.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)41-50
Number of pages10
JournalEthnicity and Disease
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Epidemiology


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