Depression and Language Acculturation Correlate With Smoking Among Older Asian American Adolescents in New York City


  • Maria G. Rosario-Sim,

    1. Ed.D., R.N.C., P.N.P., B.C., is Associate Professor, College of Nursing SUNY Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, New York.
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  • Kathleen A. O'Connell

    1. Ph.D., R.N., F.A.A.N., is Isabel Maitland Stewart Professor of Nursing, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, New York.
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Maria G. Rosario-Sim, College of Nursing SUNY Downstate Medical Center, 450 Clarkson Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11203. E-mail:


ABSTRACT Objective: To explore the correlates of smoking status among a sample of Asian American adolescents in New York City (NYC).

Design and Sample: This descriptive, correlational study compared current smokers and current nonsmokers in terms of age, gender, ethnicity, academic performance, acculturation, depressive symptoms, smoking history, and parental, sibling, and peer smoking. The convenience sample included 328 Asian American adolescents, ages 16–19, who lived in NYC, and were recruited from members, friends, and affiliates of 6 organizational sources.

Measures: The study used demographic, depression (Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression scale), English language acculturation, and smoking opportunity survey questionnaires.

Results: Statistical analyses revealed that being older, being more English-language acculturated, having poor academic performance, increased depressive symptoms, and having siblings and peers who smoked were significantly associated with current smoking.

Conclusions: Asian American adolescents initiate smoking later than other groups. Depressive symptoms were at high levels in the sample and were correlated with smoking. Thus, for Asian American adolescents, smoking prevention programs should be extended to later grades, with particular attention to low-performing students and those who are more acculturated. Likewise, programs that identify and assist adolescents with depressive symptoms may be useful in smoking prevention.