Why some children smoke: could measuring personality improve intervention success?

K. Lucas, B. Lloyd, D. Hitchin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Observes that UK smoking prevention programmes have limited success. However, there is evidence that individual differences may mediate the effectiveness of such programmes. In order to measure personality, which is a major source of individual difference, a questionnaire suitable for use with English 11 to 16-year olds was developed in three distinct phases. First, the words teenagers use to describe their friends were collected in individual interviews. Second, a subset of these terms was tested with a group of young people of various ages and qualitative analyses undertaken. Finally the factor structure of the questionnaire was explored and a 49 statement, self-report personality instrument was constructed. The personality questionnaire was then used in a two-wave prospective study of smoking in four English, state secondary schools. Presents the findings from matched data from 2,023 students. The personality questionnaire predicted smoking uptake above and beyond that achieved from knowledge of gender, school year, and family smoking behaviour.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-142
Number of pages10
JournalHealth education
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • Individual behaviour, Personality, Smoking, Young people


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