Early age of e-cigarette use onset mediates the association between impulsivity and e-cigarette use frequency in youth
BACKGROUND: Identifying risk factors for youth e-cigarette use is critical, given high rates of e-cigarette use and unknown health effects of long-term use. The current study examined whether an early age of onset of e-cigarette use mediates the association between impulsivity and e-cigarette frequency. METHODS: Cross-sectional survey data of e-cigarette users (n=927) were collected from 8 high schools in southeastern Connecticut. The sample was 44.7% female (mean age 16.2 [SD=1.2], mean age of e-cigarette onset 14.7 [SD=1.6]). Two domains of self-reported, trait impulsivity were assessed using the abbreviated Barratt Impulsiveness Scale: impaired self-regulation (e.g., problems with concentration or self-control) and behavioral impulsivity (e.g., doing things without thinking). Mediation was tested with Mplus, and the model included school as a cluster variable and controlled for covariates related to e-cigarette use (i.e., sex, age, race, peer use, and other tobacco products ever tried). RESULTS: The hypothesized mediation was supported for both domains of impulsivity (impaired self-regulation a1b=0.09, SE=0.02, 95%CI [0.03–0.14], p=.002; behavioral impulsivity a2b=0.07, SE=0.03, 95%CI [.01–.14], p=0.03). Specifically, impaired self-regulation (B=−0.33, SE=0.06, p<0.001) and behavioral impulsivity (B=−0.26, SE=0.11, p=0.02) predicted trying e-cigarettes at an earlier age, and earlier initiation was associated with more days of e-cigarette use in the past month (B=−0.28, SE=0.08, p<0.001). CONCLUSIONS: Adolescents who endorse aspects of impulsivity, such as acting without thinking, are at greater risk for more frequent e-cigarette use through an early age of e-cigarette initiation. Further research is needed to evaluate these relationships longitudinally and to develop targeted e-cigarette interventions for impulsive youth.
Bold, Krysten W., Meghan E. Morean, Grace Kong, Patricia Simon, et al. 2017. “Early age of e-cigarette use onset mediates the association between impulsivity and e-cigarette use frequency in youth.” Drug and Alcohol Dependence 181: 146-151.
Drug and Alcohol Dependence
Youth, E-cigarettes, Tobacco, Impulsivity, Initiation