The relationship between smoking frequency and life satisfaction: mediator of self-rated health (SRH)

Publication type

Journal Article


Publication date

December 7, 2022


Background: It is well-established that smoking is associated with life satisfaction. However, much less is known about how smoking frequency is related to life satisfaction and if self-rated health (SRH) mediates such a relationship. This is important to understand because life satisfaction is related to a lot of outcomes such as morbidity and mortality. The aim of the current study is to test whether smoking frequency relates to life satisfaction via SRH pathway.

Method: Data were extracted from Wave 7 (collected between 2015 and 2016), Understanding Society: the UK Household Longitudinal Study (UKHLS). After removing non-smokers and participants with missing variables of interest, 5, 519 smokers out of 39, 293 participants remained for further analysis. Correlation coefficients were calculated between smoking frequency, SRH, and life satisfaction. Mediation analysis was performed by taking smoking frequency as the predictor, SRH as the mediator, life satisfaction as the outcome variable, and demographics as covariates using the mediation toolbox on MATLAB 2018a with 10000 bootstrap sample significance testing (

Results: The current study found a negative correlation between smoking frequency and life satisfaction [r = −0.09, 95% C.I (−0.12, −0.06), p < 0.001] and between smoking frequency and SRH [r = −0.17, 95% C.I (−0.14, −0.19), p < 0.001], and a positive correlation between SRH and life satisfaction [r = 0.44, 95% C.I (0.41, 0.46), p < 0.001]. Results from the mediation analysis revealed that there is a significant effect of Path a [i.e., smoking frequency to SRH; β = −0.02, p < 0.001, 95% C.I. (−0.02, −0.02)], Path b [SRH to life satisfaction; β = 0.68, p < 0.001, 95% C.I. (0.66, 0.69)], Path c' [direct effect; β = −0.01, p < 0.01, 95% C.I. (0.66, 0.69)], Path c [total effect; β =-0.02, p < 0.001, 95% C.I. (−0.02, −0.02)], and Path a*b [mediation effect; β = −0.01, p < 0.001, 95% C.I. (−0.01, −0.014)].

Conclusion: SRH partially mediated the negative relationship between smoking frequency and life satisfaction. Findings from the current study may imply that antismoking campaigns and pamphlets are needed to counter the promotion of smoking by the tobacco industry. Moreover, interventions are needed for current smokers to reduce their smoking frequency to improve their life satisfaction, which can promote life satisfaction and positive outcomes associated with better life satisfaction.

Published in

Frontiers in Psychiatry


Volume: 13:937685






© 2022 Kang

Open Access

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms



Latest findings, new research

Publications search

Search all research by subject and author


Researchers discuss their findings and what they mean for society


Background and context, methods and data, aims and outputs


Conferences, seminars and workshops

Survey methodology

Specialist research, practice and study

Taking the long view

ISER's annual report


Key research themes and areas of interest