October 1997

The Idiosyncratic Definition of Nicotine Dependence-Reply

Author Affiliations

Christchurch Health and Development Study PO Box 4345 Christchurch, New Zealand

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1997;54(10):974. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1997.01830220104020

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In Reply  We agree that the criteria for nicotine dependence used in our article were more liberal than those applied by Breslau et al and may not strictly meet applied DSM-III-R criteria. The reason for our use of this more liberal criteria was that our sample (aged 16 years) was younger than the sample of 21 to 30 year olds studied by Breslau et al and showed less strongly established patterns of cigarette smoking. To address this issue, we employed the somewhat less stringent definition of nicotine dependence described in our article.Dr Breslau's comments raise the issue of the extent to which associations between nicotine dependence and depression are sensitive to minor variations in the criteria used to define nicotine dependence. To examine this, we have varied the criteria for nicotine dependence from the 2 symptoms used in our article to up to 4 symptoms. This analysis shows that the odds ratio

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