Might expectations explain early self-reported symptoms of nicotine dependence

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Family Medicine and Community Health

Publication Date


Document Type



Adolescent; Adult; Age Distribution; *Attitude to Health; Female; Humans; Imagination; Male; Psychometrics; Sex Distribution; Smoking Cessation; Tobacco Use Disorder; Truth Disclosure


Community Health | Preventive Medicine


We examined youths' expectations about nicotine dependence to determine if these might explain the early appearance of symptoms. A convenience sample of 9th graders (n=460) completed a survey that asked them to imagine they were a novice teen smoker and an inveterate adult smoker and indicate whether they would expect to experience real and bogus symptoms of nicotine dependence. Responses were compared to actual symptom reports from 1375 adolescent novice smokers and 1102 adult smokers. The pattern of symptoms experienced by teen smokers did not match the pattern of symptoms expected by nonsmokers, but matched that of adult smokers almost exactly. The pattern of symptoms expected by novice teen smokers did not match the pattern of symptoms they reported experiencing. We found no evidence that youths' reports of symptoms of nicotine dependence are based on expectations. While youth do share expectations about nicotine dependence, it is not the expectation that they will become dependent; it is the expectation that if they smoke they will be able to quit whenever they want.

DOI of Published Version



Addict Behav. 2009 Feb;34(2):227-31. Epub 2008 Oct 12. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Addictive behaviors

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID