Purpose in life and tobacco use among community-dwelling mothers of early adolescents

Yuko Morimoto, Syudo Yamasaki, Shuntaro Ando, Shinsuke Koike, Shinya Fujikawa, Sho Kanata, Kaori Endo, Miharu Nakanishi, Stephani L. Hatch, Marcus Richards, Kiyoto Kasai, Mariko Hiraiwa-Hasegawa, Atsushi Nishida

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16 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives The rising prevalence of tobacco use and tobacco-attributable deaths among women is of worldwide concern. In particular, smoking prevention for mothers in early midlife is a significant international public health goal. A higher sense of purpose in life (PIL) is thought to reduce detrimental health behaviours. However, little is known about the association between a sense of PIL and tobacco use. This study investigates this association among community-dwelling mothers of early adolescents. Design This population-based cross-sectional study uses a self-reported questionnaire from the Tokyo Early Adolescence Survey, a large community-based survey conducted in Japan between 2012 and 2015. Setting Participants were randomly recruited from the resident registries of three municipalities in Tokyo, Japan. Participants A total of 4478 children and their primary parents participated. Responses from 4063 mothers with no missing data were analysed (mean age=42.0 years (SD=4.2)). Measures Participants' tobacco use, including the number of cigarettes smoked per day, was documented using a questionnaire. PIL was assessed using a Purpose in Life scale derived from Ryff's Psychological Well-Being Scale. Results Greater PIL was associated with a decreased likelihood of tobacco use, even when adjusted for confounders (OR=0.80, 95% CI 0.70 to 0.91). Multinomial logistic regression analyses revealed that PIL was inversely associated with tobacco consumption among mothers. These associations remained after controlling for psychological distress, socioeconomic factors and frequency of alcohol consumption among moderate to heavy smokers (OR=0.70, 95% CI 0.57 to 0.86), while attenuated among light smokers. Conclusions Increasing PIL may be a valuable intervention for reducing tobacco use among women in early midlife. This study can contribute to our understanding of the psychology of smoking behaviour and shed light on the targeted intervention to reduce tobacco use among early midlife mothers.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere020586
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Apr 1


  • mother
  • psychological distress
  • purpose in life
  • tobacco use
  • Tokyo Early Adolescence Survey (T-EAS)


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