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Race/ethnicity, socioeconomic factors, and smoking among early adolescent girls in the United States

Publication Abstract

Wallace, John M., Michael G. Vaughn, Jerald Bachman, Patrick M. O'Malley, Lloyd Johnston, and John E. Schulenberg. 2009. "Race/ethnicity, socioeconomic factors, and smoking among early adolescent girls in the United States." Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 104(Suppl. 1): S42-S49.

Background This study uses large nationally representative samples of White, Black, Mexican American, Puerto Rican, Other Latina, Asian American, and American Indian 8th-grade girls to examine racial/ethnic differences and similarities in patterns, trends, and socioeconomic correlates of cigarette use.

Methods The data are drawn from the University of Michigan's Monitoring the Future study. Prevalence and trend data (from 1991 to 2007) in girls' cigarette use were examined by racial/ethnic subgroup. Logistic regression analyses were conducted to determine the extent to which socioeconomicfactors predict girls' cigarette use, and whether the relationships between socioeconomic status (SES) and smoking differed across racial/ethnic subgroup.

Results Cigarette use was highest among American Indian girls; at an intermediate level among Mexican American, Puerto Rican, Other Latinas, and White girls; and lowest among Black and Asian American girls. Trend data show that cigarette use has declined for all racial/ethnic subgroups, and that small but consistent racial/ethnic differences in girls' cigarette use have persisted. Generally, girls who did not live in two-parent households, whose parents had lower levels of educational attainment, who attended lower SES schools, and who had more disposable income were more likely than their peers to smoke. That said, however, the relationships between smoking and parental education and school SES were, on average, stronger for White girls than for Black or Hispanic (Mexican American, Other Latina, Puerto Rican) girls.

Conclusions Future research should seek to understand the mechanisms by which low SES impacts smoking.

DOI:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2009.06.007 (Full Text)

PMCID: PMC2732752. (Pub Med Central)

Country of focus: United States.

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