Child maltreatment and adult cigarette smoking: A long-term developmental model

James Topitzes, Joshua P. Mersky, Arthur J. Reynolds

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


ObjectiveTo examine: (a) child maltreatment's association with young adult daily cigarette smoking, (b) variations in this association by gender, and (c) mediators of this association.MethodsFor all study participants (N = 1,125, 94% African American), data from multiple sources (e.g., child welfare records) were collected prospectively at child, adolescent, and young adult time points. Authors enlisted multivariate probit regression for objectives a and b versus exploratory and confirmatory mediation strategies for objective c.ResultsMaltreatment was significantly associated with daily cigarette smoking. Although not moderated by gender, this relation was fully mediated by adolescent indicators of family support/stability, social adjustment, and cognitive/school performance along with young adult indicators of educational attainment, life satisfaction, substance abuse, and criminality. ConclusionsMaltreatment places low-income, minority children at risk for daily cigarette smoking and other deleterious young adult health outcomes. Recommended treatment targets include family support/stability, emotion regulation, social skills, and cognitive/academic functioning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)484-498
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of pediatric psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jun 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Chicago Longitudinal Study grants from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (No. R01HD34294-06); Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (No. 20030035) supported the research reported herein. A Category A Research Grant from the Institute on Race and Ethnicity of the University of Wisconsin System provided additional funding for the completion of this study.


  • Behavioral health
  • Child maltreatment
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Mediation


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