How is low parental socioeconomic status associated with future smoking and nicotine dependence in offspring? A population-based longitudinal 13-year follow-up
Aims: Low socioeconomic status (SES) characterizes smoking and nicotine dependence in adult samples. However, less is known about how parental SES is linked to smoking in offspring and potential mechanisms at work. Methods: A population-based longitudinal study (N = 1,380) from Norway. Participants were followed from mid-teens until late 20s using survey and register data. Data were collected on parental education, parental smoking, educational aspirations and expectations, school grades and school-related conduct problems. Register data monitored education, unemployment and social welfare assistance. By means of multinomial logistic regression analyses, risk factors for smoking and nicotine dependence were identified. Mediation analyses were used to investigate pathways between parental SES and future smoking. Results: Future smokers were recruited from families with low educational levels. Poor school grades, school dropout, low educational aspirations were also predictors. Unemployment and social welfare assistance additionally increased the risk. Parental smoking, no high school exam and welfare assistance were mediators between low parental education and high levels of nicotine dependence in young adulthood. Conclusions: Socialization to smoking reflects a multifaceted socialization process fueled by low parental SES. However, parental influences may be masked behind influences seemingly coming from e.g. schools or peers. Future research should try to capture the multiple sources of SES-related influence at work. Prevention strategies should target adolescents from low SES backgrounds, who orient themselves towards manual working class, and who have problems entering the labor force.
von Soest, Tilmann