Serious psychological distress and smoking during pregnancy in the United States: 2008-2014

Renee D. Goodwin, Keely Cheslack-Postava, Deborah B. Nelson, Philip H. Smith, Deborah S. Hasin, Teresa Janevic, Nina Bakoyiannis, Melanie M. Wall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Introduction: The current study examined the relationship between acute (past 30 day) and recent (past year but not past 30 day) serious psychological distress (SPD) and smoking during pregnancy among women in the United States overall, stratified by demographic characteristics, and described the change in the prevalence of prenatal smoking among women with and without SPD, from 2008 to 2014. Methods: Data were drawn from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), an annual cross-sectional study of US persons aged 12 and over. SPD and smoking in the past 30 days among pregnant women, aged 18 and older, were examined using logistic regression models. Heterogeneity in this association by demographic characteristics, trends over time, and level of cigarette consumption was also examined. Results: Prenatal smoking was common. Almost 40% of pregnant women with acute SPD reported smoking, 23% of pregnant women with recent SPD smoked, and 11.7% of pregnant women without recent SPD smoked. No significant change was found in the prevalence of prenatal smoking from 2008 to 2014 in any of these groups. Robust relationships were found between acute (OR = 5.05 [3.64-6.99]) and recent SPD (OR = 2.37 [1.74-3.24]) and smoking; these findings remained after adjusting for demographics. Conclusions: SPD and smoking during pregnancy are strongly associated; this relationship is present across all sociodemographic groups and the prevalence of smoking in pregnancy has remained relatively unchanged over the past decade both in the presence and absence of SPD. Implications: SPD and smoking in pregnancy are robustly linked; the prevalence of smoking in pregnancy is extremely high in women with SPD. Screening women with mental health problems for prenatal smoking, as well as screening pregnant smokers for mental health problems, seems warranted and may assist more women in seeking and utilizing treatment options. Efforts to reduce the prevalence of smoking during pregnancy might specifically target women with SPD, where the potential for impact is substantial.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)605-614
Number of pages10
JournalNicotine and Tobacco Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2017


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