• smoking predictors;
  • adolescents;
  • SEM


The purpose of this study was to assess whether similar environmental factors predict adolescents' smoking in two different cultures: in the Pitkäranta district in Russian Karelia and in eastern Finland. The data were gathered by self-administered questionnaires from ninth-grade students in 10 comprehensive schools in Pitkäranta (n = 385) and from age-matched students in 24 schools in eastern Finland (n = 2,098). Structural equation modeling (SEM) was used to test whether similar path structures fit for boys and for girls in Pitkäranta and in eastern Finland, and to test whether regression coefficients were similar between the cultures by sex. Smoking by family members and best friends was positively related to adolescents' smoking both directly and indirectly. Environmental factors were similar predictors of smoking between the cultures for boys. For girls, different regression coefficients in Pitkäranta and in eastern Finland were found. Best friend's smoking was the most important predictor of adolescents' own smoking in every sub-sample. When indirect relationships were identified, the significance of parents' and siblings' smoking, in addition to smoking by best friends, was strongly supported. © 2006 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Res Nurs Health 29: 543–555, 2006