Donald Loiacano

Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

James Grimm, John Faine, Stephen Groce


Access granted to WKU students, faculty and staff only.

After an extensive unsuccessful search for the author, this thesis is considered an orphan work, which may be protected by copyright. The inclusion of this orphan work on TopScholar does not guarantee that that orphan work may be used for any purpose and any use of the orphan work may subject the user to a claim of copyright infringement. The reproduction of this work is made by WKU without any purpose of direct or indirect commercial advantage and is made for purposes of preservation and research.

See also WKU Archives - Authorization for Use of Thesis, Special Project & Dissertation

Original department Sociology & Anthropology

Degree Program

Department of Sociology

Degree Type

Master of Arts


The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship that exists between adolescents and conventional social institutions, and how this relationship effects regular cigarette usage among adolescents. Using the theoretical framework of Travis Hirschi's four elements of the social bond--Attachment, Commitment, Involvement, and Belief--the researcher defines cigarette smoking as a deviant activity that is more likely to be regul-rly practiced by adolescents who have a weak social bond to conventional institutions such as family, school, and church than those who have a strong bond to these institutions. Overall, the writer investigates the argument that adolescents' decreased attachments to social institutions such as family, church, and school will increase the likelihood of their decisions to experiment with and to continue smoking cigarette[s].

Data were acquired from a 1992 questionnaire survey of high school-aged students who were attending one of the three schools in a northern Kentucky county (N = 2,042). Analysis consists of comparisons between the smoking habits of adolescents who have strong ties to conventional social institutions and those who do not. Three forms of analysis are employed for this study: bivariate analysis, table elaboration, and stepwise regression.

The findings in this thesis support the argument that adolescents who have a strong social bond to conventional institutions and activities are less likely to regularly smoke cigarettes than those whose social bonds are weak. All four of Hirschi's social bond elements were found to be significantly related to regular smoking among adolescents. Adolescents who had been arrested or suspended from school were found to exhibit a much greater likelihood to regularly smoke cigarettes than any other subgroup examined within this thesis. Overall, results of this thesis suggest that the causal explanations outlined by Hirschi in his 1969 book, Causes of Delinquency, and used in subsequent sociological research to explain deviance, are legitimate arguments in explaining and predicting regular cigarette smoking among adolescents.


Medicine and Health | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Sociology