The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between stress and smoking among Korean adolescents, as well as the influence of gender on this relationship.
A cross-sectional study was conducted using data from 3930 adolescents aged 12–18 years, collected in the 2007–2012 Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys.
An increased level of self-reported stress was positively associated with increasing levels of smoking in both girls and boys (p for trend < 0.001). After adjusting for age, the odds ratios of smoking among girls and boys reporting very high levels of stress were 15.99 (95 % confidence interval (CI), 4.17–61.30) and 2.34 (95 % CI, 1.07–5.11), respectively, compared with those who reported low levels of stress.
This study found a statistically significant association between stress and smoking among Korean adolescents and this association was stronger in girls than boys. Further research is needed to understand more fully the link between stress and smoking in adolescents, with particular attention to sex differences.