To report sex-specific associations between cigarette smoking and DSM-IV disorders, symptoms, and mental health services use related to depression and anxiety in a nationally representative sample of U.S. adolescents.
Data on two samples were drawn from the 1999–2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys to examine the association of ever smoking (versus never smoking) with depression (n = 1884 12–15 year-olds) and anxiety (n = 6336 12–19 year-olds). Sex-specific associations between smoking and DSM-IV diagnoses, subthreshold and severe disorder, symptoms, impairment and mental health services use were assessed using logistic regression modeling.
Rates of DSM-IV depression and anxiety were increased in adolescent female ever smokers as compared to never smokers (OR = 3.9, 95% CI: 1.3–11.3 and OR = 10.6, 95% CI: 3.1–37.0, respectively). Females also showed statistically significant increases in severe disorder, subthreshold disorder, all symptoms of major depressive disorder, most symptoms of panic disorder, and increases in severe impairment, especially those related to schoolwork and teachers. Male adolescents showed smaller variations in depression and anxiety by smoking status, but were more likely to seek mental health services.
Smoking prevention efforts may benefit from specifically targeting female youth who show signs of depression or anxiety diagnoses through a school-based program, while greater benefits with males may be evident through programs integrated into mental health services.
Cigarette smoking and mood disorders in U.S. adolescents: Sex-specific associations with symptoms, diagnoses, impairment and health services use