Four-year prospective evaluation of the relationship between meaning in life and smoking status

Barna Konkolÿ Thege, Róbert Urbán, Mária S. Kopp

Research output: Article

5 Citations (Scopus)


Background: To date, all investigations on the relationship between smoking and perceived level of meaning in life have used cross-sectional designs. Therefore, the purpose of the present prospective study, conducted with a four-year time lag, was to test the predictive power of the life meaning construct concerning changes in smoking status.Methods: The data of 4,294 respondents (40.3% male, Mage = 54.7 ± 16.5 yrs) from the Hungarian Epidemiological Panel Survey were analyzed using the Kruskal-Wallis and Mann-Whitney U-test and structural equation modeling (SEM) with a nominal outcome variable. Gender, age, and educational level were included in the study as covariates.Results: On the bivariate level, results showed that both baseline and follow-up meaning in life scores were higher in stable non-smokers when compared to stable smokers. However, quitters and starters differed from stable non-smokers in their baseline but not in follow-up life meaning scores. The other relationships (stable smokers vs. quitters; stable smokers vs. starters, starters vs. quitters) were non-significant in both time points. According to the SEM-analysis, a higher sense of meaning in life measured at baseline and follow-up is associated with a lower likelihood (OR = 0.54, z = 2.80, p = 0.005; OR = 0.64, z = 2.88, p = 0.004, respectively) of being a stable smoker compared to being a stable non-smoker, confirming the expected relationship between smoking and decreased level of meaning in life. However, neither baseline nor follow-up life meaning scores predicted significantly quitting and uptake of smoking.Conclusions: If future research from other cultures verifies the protective role of a higher level of meaning in life against smoking, then smoking prevention and cessation programs will also have to include such components that help individuals experience more meaning in their lives.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8
JournalSubstance Abuse: Treatment, Prevention, and Policy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - febr. 22 2013


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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