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Pathways of how socioeconomic context affects teen smoking

Institution: University of California, Los Angeles
Investigator(s): Ritesh Mistry, Ph.D. M.P.A.
Award Cycle: 2006 (Cycle 15) Grant #: 15FT-0002 Award: $75,000
Subject Area: Public Health, Public Policy, and Economics
Award Type: Postdoctoral Fellowship Awards

Initial Award Abstract
Although adolescent tobacco use rates in California have been declining, there still exist wide inequities across regions within California as well as according to race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status. Programs and policies to further reduce adolescent tobacco use and its related disparities in California will require efforts at multiple levels designed to affect adolescents directly as well as indirectly, by targeting the social, economic and political influences affecting them where they live. The proposed research seeks to extend our understanding of how factors in the socioeconomic environment can influence adolescent tobacco use with the goal of using this new information to provide valuable guidance to programs and policies that can impact this important public health problem.

The proposed project will focus on how the socioeconomic characteristics of California neighborhoods, cities/places and counties are influential to adolescent tobacco use. Generally, research that examines the influences of socioeconomic characteristics of where people live on their use of tobacco has measured these characteristics in absolute terms like per capita income, median income, proportion of household living below the federally defined poverty level, etc (i.e. absolute income). This research project will examine these types of measures but it will also investigate whether the degree income inequality (i.e. the gap in income between the poor and wealthy within a population, which is usually called relative income) is also associated with adolescent tobacco use. I hypothesize that both absolute and relative income levels will be influential to adolescent tobacco use.

I will also examine two ways in which absolute and relative income may influence tobacco use in California adolescents. First, I hypothesize that areas characterized by low income and/or a wide gap in income will have more tobacco retailers, which in turn will lead adolescents to tobacco use. Second, the research will also test the hypothesis that adolescents living in low income and/or income unequal areas are more likely to use tobacco because they are at a greater risk of being depressed in such areas compared to higher income and more income equal areas. Finally, the study will investigate whether adolescents of certain racial/ethnic groups are more or less susceptible to the influences that the socioeconomic environment (i.e. absolute and relative income) has on tobacco use. To do this I will separately test these hypotheses in African Americans, American Indians/Alaskan Natives, Asian/Pacific Islanders, Hispanic/Latinos, and non-Hispanic whites.

This research should help guide programs and policies on where they may be directed regionally, which ethnicities are most susceptible to effects of the socioeconomic environment and which factors may be modified to reduce adolescent tobacco use and its related health disparities.

Pathways of how socioeconomic context affects teen smoking. American Society for Preventive Oncology.
Periodical: American Society for Preventive Oncology Index Medicus:
Authors: Mistry R, McCarthy ABS
Yr: 2007 Vol: Nbr: Abs: Pg: