Smoking and Depression in Chinese Americans

Janice Y. Tsoh, Judy N. Lam, Kevin L. Delucchi, Sharon M. Hall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Background: A close link between smoking and depression has been documented by research primarily based on U.S. white populations. This study examined the association between depressive symptoms and smoking behaviors in Chinese American smokers. Methods: Analyses were based on baseline data collected from a convenience sample of 199 Chinese smokers who resided in northern California. The sample included 20.6% women, 97% immigrants, with mean age of 40.8 years and mean cigarettes/day of 8.9. Results: Compared with population-based studies of Chinese Americans, the Chinese smokers in the current study reported higher depressive symptoms assessed by the Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression Scale [M, 20.4; 95% confidence interval (CI), 18.8-22.2], higher lifetime prevalence rates of major depressive disorders (30.3%; 95% CI, 24.0-37.2%) and dysthymia (11.6%; 95% CI, 7.5-16.9%). Multiple regression analysis suggested female gender, unemployment, major depression or dysthymia within the past year, previous experience with nicotine withdrawal syndrome, and high temptation to smoke under negative affect situations are associated with a higher level of depressive symptoms. Conclusions: The level of depressive symptoms among Chinese American smokers is comparable with that observed in other US populations reported. In the current sample, elevated depressive symptoms were more prominent among women or those who were unemployed, smokers who reported significant nicotine withdrawal at previous quit attempts, and high temptation to smoke when experiencing negative emotions. Findings support further examination of the role of depression in smoking among Chinese Americans and underscore the importance of addressing depressive symptoms when treating tobacco use in Chinese smokers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)187-191
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of the Medical Sciences
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2003


  • Chinese Americans
  • Dysthymia
  • Major depression
  • Nicotine dependence
  • Smoking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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