Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Women who were sexually abused as children more likely to smoke


Women who were sexually abused as children are much more likely to be current smokers than women who weren’t abused as children. That’s a key finding of a preliminary study on possible connections between sexual abuse and smoking -- a topic that has been largely overlooked in medical research.

The study is published in the February issue of the journal Addictive Behaviors.

"We found childhood sexual abuse is a strong predictor of smoking for women," says Colmar De Von Figueroa-Moseley, Ph.D., lead investigator in the study and director of Mayo Clinic’s Office of Diversity in Clinical Research. "In our study, it was a more reliable smoking predictor than income, age or ethnicity. Understanding this connection could lead to new approaches to help girls and women avoid or stop smoking."

Study results include:
  • Women who were sexually abused as children were 3.8 times more likely to be current smokers than women who didn’t report abuse. Childhood sexual abuse was defined as sexual fondling, attempted rape or rape before age 14.

  • Women who were sexually abused as children were twice as likely as those not abused to have ever smoked cigarettes.

  • Women reporting childhood sexual abuse were 2.1 times more likely than women not reporting abuse to start smoking by age 14.

Women who reported many incidents of sexual abuse as adults also were more likely to be smokers, but at a far lower risk level than women who reported even one instance of childhood abuse.

How the study was done

Researchers analyzed written surveys from 296 women, who ranged in age from 18 to 74. The study was conducted at California State University at San Bernardino, and 90 percent of the participants were college students. The respondents were racially diverse: 49.7 percent white; 24.9 percent Latino; 9.3 percent black; 8.3 percent Asian and 7.8 percent other ethnic groups. Respondents answered questions about smoking, sexual abuse, income, education and ethnicity.

Nine percent of the women were current smokers, and 69.3 percent of respondents had smoked at least once. About 29 percent of respondents reported being sexually abused as a child; 52 percent said they were sexually victimized as adults.

The sexual abuse-smoking connection

"Childhood sexual abuse may be a hidden but powerful reason why girls start smoking," says Dr. Figueroa-Moseley. "Smoking may be a way to cope with the stress of abuse."

While overall smoking rates have declined significantly over recent decades, smoking rates for teen and adult women recently have increased.

The conclusions of this research are limited by the small number of participants. "But the findings do support a compelling argument that sexual abuse is a strong -- yet little understood -- predictor of smoking," says Dr. Figueroa-Moseley. More systematic study is needed before developing new treatment options.

Shelly Plutowski | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Illinois researchers researchers find tweeting in cities lower than expected
21.02.2018 | University of Illinois College of Engineering

nachricht Polluted air may pollute our morality
08.02.2018 | Association for Psychological Science

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Tiny implants for cells are functional in vivo

For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.

In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

Im Focus: ILA 2018: Laser alternative to hexavalent chromium coating

At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.

When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Earlier flowering of modern winter wheat cultivars

20.03.2018 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

Smithsonian researchers name new ocean zone: The rariphotic

20.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Molecular doorstop could be key to new tuberculosis drugs

20.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>