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Predictors of Smoking in African American Adolescents

Institution: University of California, San Francisco
Investigator(s): Mark Alexander, Ph.D.
Award Cycle: 1997 (Cycle 6) Grant #: 6PT-6002H Award: $455,536
Subject Area: Epidemiology
Award Type: Integrated Research Project

Initial Award Abstract
Despite a gradual decrease in cigarette smoking rates among adults over the past 30 years, little progress has been made in changing adolescent smoking behavior since 1980. The onset of tobacco use among young adults has become much less frequent and most initiation now takes place in adolescence. Data from national surveys show that there has been minimal change in the smoking rates reported by White or Latino youth. Results from the Youth Risk Behavior survey in 1995 showed Latino youth rates of 76.3% for lifetime cigarette use (Trying), 34.0% for current use (21 day in previous month), and 10.0% for frequent use (220 days in previous month). These rates are concerning because of lack of change, the expected increased susceptibility of young Latina females as gender differences have disappeared among youth, and the expected influence of increasing acculturation on rates of smoking initiation. Maintaining and decreasing the low adult smoking rates and preventing the projected increase in Latino smoking based on current adolescent rates and the increased acculturation are two clear goals of tobacco control among Latinos.

The long-term aim of the study proposed here is to identify those characteristics Latino children and adolescents that by predicting initiation and continued use of cigarettes will need to be addressed in culturally appropriate prevention programs to be developed in the future. We propose two specific aims: 1) To identify predictors of each of three stages of cigarette smoking behavior (Trying, Experimentation, and Regular Use) in a cohort of Latino youths of both genders over three years of annual follow-ups; and, 2) To evaluate the role of six domains of variables in predicting each of three stages of cigarette smoking (Trying, Experimentation, and Regular Use) among Latino youths of each gender. The predictor domains are: (a) social environment (e.g., smoking modeling by adults and peers); (b) intrapersonal characteristics (e.g., depression, risk taking, acculturation); (c) knowledge about health effects of cigarette smoking; (d) attitudes (e.g., stereotypes about smokers); (e) normative beliefs about cigarette smoking (i.e., beliefs of important others regarding cigarette smoking); and, (f) intentions to try, experiment, or smoke cigarettes. The study proposed will recruit a cohort of Latino children that will initially include nonsmoking children of both genders aged 10 to 12 years at the time of first testing. Adolescents will be randomly selected from residents in the San Francisco Bay area and the youth and their parent(s) interviewed in their homes three times at 12 month intervals. The study will utilize culturally appropriate instruments, in English or Spanish, self-administered at home in the presence of the interviewers. Youth respondents will be asked to provide a saliva sample as a bogus pipeline and 25% of all saliva samples will be biochemically validated. Cohort maintenance procedures will be implemented.