Depressive symptoms and smoking in middle-aged and older women

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Medicine, Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine

Publication Date


Document Type



Smoking; Women's Health; Middle Aged; Aged; Depression; Health Behavior


Behavioral Disciplines and Activities | Behavior and Behavior Mechanisms | Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Preventive Medicine


INTRODUCTION: Smoking research and intervention efforts have neglected older women. Depressive symptoms, which are common in middle-aged and older women, are related to the maintenance of adult smoking.

METHODS: This study investigated the relation of a composite measure of current depressive symptoms, derived from a short form of the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale, and history of depressive symptoms, derived from two items from the Diagnostic Interview Schedule, to smoking outcomes in the Women's Health Initiative Observational Study (N = 90,627). Participants were postmenopausal with an average age of 63.6 years at baseline. Participants were recruited from urban, suburban, and rural areas surrounding 40 clinical centers in the United States. Analyses controlled for age, educational level, and ethnicity.

RESULTS: In multinomial logistic regression analyses, depressive symptoms were related cross-sectionally to current light (odds ratio [OR] = 1.19, 95% CI = 1.14-1.23) and heavier (OR = 1.28, 95% CI = 1.23-1.32) smoking at baseline compared with nonsmokers. In prospective multiple logistic regression analyses, baseline depressive symptoms were negatively predictive of smoking cessation at a 1-year follow-up (OR = .85, 95% CI = 0.77-0.93) and at participants' final assessments in the study (OR = .92, 95% CI = 0.85-0.98). Light smokers had more than 2 times higher odds of smoking cessation than did heavier smokers.

CONCLUSIONS: The present findings demonstrate a consistent link between depressive symptoms and negative smoking-related behaviors among middle-aged and older women at both light and heavier smoking levels.

DOI of Published Version



Nicotine Tob Res. 2011 Aug;13(8):722-31. Epub 2011 Apr 19. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Nicotine and tobacco research : official journal of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID