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Psychol Addict Behav. 2011 Jun;25(2):320-9. doi: 10.1037/a0022633.

Childhood ADHD symptoms and risk for cigarette smoking during adolescence: School adjustment as a potential mediator.

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Department of Psychology, Barnwell College, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208, USA.


Although a large body of research suggests that children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are at increased risk for cigarette smoking during adolescence compared with their non-ADHD peers, much less research has examined why. The current study addressed this gap in the literature by examining middle school adjustment, broadly defined, as a possible mediator of the relation between childhood ADHD symptoms and cigarette smoking during middle adolescence (10th grade). Longitudinal data were collected from a community sample of 754 youth using self-report and parent report along with school records, and a novel statistical technique was used in the process of testing for mediation. Consistent with hypotheses, school adjustment was found to mediate the relation between childhood ADHD symptoms and later cigarette smoking, even after controlling for early externalizing problems. Results have implications for etiological theories of adolescent deviant behavior and suggest that successful smoking prevention programs targeting youth with ADHD should include a school adjustment component.

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