Objective: This study aimed to illuminate developmental changes and gender differences in the link between weight concerns and cigarette use across adolescence. Specifically, we examined whether and how the strength of the association between weight concerns and cigarette use changed across adolescence, and whether patterns of association differed between boys and girls. Method: Participants were 397 predominately White adolescents ages 11–18 years (50.5% female) from a longitudinal observational study conducted in the United States. Results: Time-varying effect modeling revealed that even after adjusting for BMI, the association between weight concerns and cigarette use was positive and significant for girls from age 11.3 to 15.9, with the strongest association at 12.7 years. For boys, this association was non-significant throughout adolescence. Discussion: Results suggest a sensitive period in early- to mid-adolescence during which girls with weight concerns may be at heightened risk for cigarette use. Findings have implications for the developmental timing of interventions to prevent cigarette use and weight concerns and suggest that tailored interventions for girls may be warranted.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Psychiatry and Mental health