Data mining classification techniques: an application to tobacco consumption in teenagers

  • Juan J. Montaño University of the Balearic Islands
  • Elena Gervilla University of the Balearic Islands
  • Berta Cajal University of the Balearic Islands
  • Alfonso Palmer University of the Balearic Islands
Keywords: artificial neural networks, nicotine, data mining, tobacco, logistic regression model, discriminant analysis


This study is aimed at analysing the predictive power of different psychosocial and personality variables on the consumption or non-consumption of nicotine in a teenage population using different classification techniques from the field of Data Mining. More specifically, we analyse ANNs – Multilayer Perceptron (MLP), Radial Basis Functions (RBF) and Probabilistic Neural Networks (PNNs) – decision trees, the logistic regression model and discriminant analysis. To this end, we worked with a sample of 2666 teenagers, 1378 of whom do not consume nicotine while 1288 are nicotine consumers. The models analysed were able to discriminate correctly between both types of subjects within a range of 77.39% to 78.20%, achieving 91.29% sensitivity and 74.32% specificity. With this study, we place at the disposal of specialists in addictive behaviours a set of advanced statistical techniques that are capable of simultaneously processing a large quantity of variables and subjects, as well as learning complex patterns and relationships automatically, in such a way that they are very appropriate for predicting and preventing addictive behaviour.

Author Biographies

Juan J. Montaño, University of the Balearic Islands
University Lecturer in Data Analysis from the University of the Balearic Islands
Elena Gervilla, University of the Balearic Islands
Assistant Lecturer with a doctoral degree from the University of the Balearic Islands
Berta Cajal, University of the Balearic Islands
University Lecturer in Foundations of Methodology and Data Analysis from the University of the Balearic Islands
Alfonso Palmer, University of the Balearic Islands
Full Professor in Applied Statistics from the University of the Balearic Islands


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How to Cite
Montaño, J. J., Gervilla, E., Cajal, B., & Palmer, A. (2014). Data mining classification techniques: an application to tobacco consumption in teenagers. Anales De Psicología / Annals of Psychology, 30(2), 633-641.
Adolescence and psychology