Aims: The experience during initial experimentation with smoking might influence later development of smoking behavior; however, measuring early smoking experience (ESE) usually requires self-reports for which stability and predictive validity are relatively understudied. The aims of the study are (a) to examine temporal stability of the ESE questionnaire and (b) to test the hypothesis that early pleasant and unpleasant experience scales predict changes in smoking status among adolescents. Methods: In two waves of the Budapest Adolescent Smoking study, a school-based longitudinal study, 1,286 ninth-grade students reported their ESE on both occasions (45.9% girls; mean age = 15.3, SD = 0.54). Questions related to smoking behavior and ESEs were administered in both waves (average 5 month apart). To examine temporal stability, test-retest correlations and a multiindicator autoregressive model were estimated. To test the predictive validity, 2 structural equation models with binary outcome variables (change in smoking status) were estimated in experimenters (N = 798) and nondaily smokers (N = 506) separately. Results: Test-retest correlations of pleasant and unpleasant experiences were .63 and .66, respectively. Pleasant and unpleasant experiences predict the change of smoking status in the group of experimenters (odds ratio [OR] = 1.57 [1.00-2.48] and 0.58 [0.42-0.80], respectively), but these coefficients (OR = 1.53 [0.79-1.74] and 1.17 [0.82-2.83], respectively) did not reach the level of significance in nondaily smokers. Conclusions: Self-reports of ESE demonstrate good short-term temporal stability. The early unpleasant smoking experience might have a different role in different stages of smoking acquisition.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health