The association between depressive symptoms and cigarette smoking in an urban primary care sample

Charlotte Brown, Pamela A.F. Madden, Deena R. Palenchar, Lisa Cooper-Patrick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To examine the relationship between cigarette smoking and depressive symptoms in an urban primary care sample. Methods. Eligible participants were 526 patients aged eighteen to sixty-four presenting in the waiting rooms of two university affiliated internal medicine clinics. Participants were asked to complete a brief interview which ascertained current depressive symptoms using the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D), demographic information, and smoking status using a modified version of the Fagerstrom Test for Nicotine Dependence (FTND). Results: Smoking status differed significantly by age, gender, education, and employment status. Mean level of depressive severity also differed by smoking status. Current smokers with nicotine dependence symptoms had significantly higher CES-D scores than those who had never smoked, ex-smokers, and non- dependent smokers. Logistic regression analyses indicated that gender, employment status, age, and smoking status were significantly associated with CES-D scores ≥16. Exploratory analyses suggested that among smokers with a symptom of nicotine dependence, significantly more women than men had clinically significant levels of depressive symptoms. Conclusions: The association between smoking behavior and depressive symptoms in the present study is consistent with that reported in population-based and psychiatric samples. Symptoms of nicotine dependence were significantly associated with clinical levels of depressive symptoms. Primary care physicians may wish to inquire about depressive symptoms among smokers, because these symptoms may interfere with patients' efforts to quit.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15-26
Number of pages12
JournalInternational journal of psychiatry in medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2000


  • Cigarette smoking
  • Depression
  • Gender differences
  • Primary care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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