Introduction: Smoking susceptibility in early adolescence is strongly predictive of subsequent smoking behavior in youth. As such, smoking susceptibility represents a key modifiable factor in reducing the onset of smoking in young people. A growing literature has documented a number of factors that influence susceptibility to smoking; however, there is limited amount of research examining associations of susceptibility to smoking and school connectedness. The current study examines whether school connectedness has an independent protective effect on smoking susceptibility among younger adolescents. Methods: A nationally representative sample of 12,894 Canadian students in grades 6-8 (11-14 years old), surveyed as part of the 2010-2011 Youth Smoking Survey, was analyzed. Multilevel logistic regression models examined unadjusted and adjusted associations between school connectedness and smoking susceptibility. The impacts of other covariates on smoking susceptibility were also explored. Results: Approximately 29% of never-smokers students in grades 6-8 in Canada were susceptible to future smoking. Logistic regression analysis, controlling for standard covariates, found that school connectedness had strong protective effects on smoking susceptibility (odds ratio [OR] 0.91, 95% CI 0.89-0.94). Conclusions: The finding that school connectedness is protective of smoking susceptibility, together with previous research, provides further evidence that improving school conditions that promote school connectedness could reduce risky behavior in adolescents. While prevention efforts should be directed at youth of all ages, particular attention must be paid to younger adolescents in the formative period of 11-14 years of age.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health