A newly published study examined how smoking may differentially relate to the emergence of disparities in functioning across races/ethnicities over adolescence. Youth (n = 2,509) were surveyed eight times from ages 11 to 18. Researchers measured cigarette use, academic and social functioning, mental and physical health, and delinquency.
- Youth were 45% Hispanic, 20% , 20% white, 10% multiethnic, 2% black, and 1% other ethnicities.
- Higher average probability of smoking and steeper slopes of smoking trajectories were associated with poorer outcomes in multiple domains:
· Black, Hispanic, and multiethnic youth reported lower academic performance.
· Asian, black, and multiethnic youth reported higher academic unpreparedness.
· Asian and multiethnic youth reported poorer mental health.
· Asian, Hispanic, and multiethnic youth reported poorer physical health.
· Asian youth reported higher delinquency and poorer social functioning.
The researchers concluded that racial/ethnic minority youth demonstrated poorer outcomes in multiple domains compared with white peers. Smoking may be a particularly robust marker for risk of negative outcomes in racial/ethnic minority youth.
Source: Dunbar et al. (2018). Ethnic Differences in Cigarette Use Trajectories and Health, Psychosocial, and Academic Outcomes. Journal of Adolescent Health, Mar, 62(3):327-333.
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