Differences in the Influence of Family Background and Social Activities on Smoking of Minority and White High School Seniors, 1976–2004

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This population-based study of high school seniors examines differences in the influence of several important determinants of smoking among white, African-American, Hispanic, and other teens. With national survey data for each year from 1976 to 2004, logistic regression is used to test for differences across race and ethnic groups (averaged over all years) in the effects on daily smoking of background factors such as living arrangements and parents' education and social activities such as academic performance and religiosity. The results show similarity in effects across racial categories, but some determinants have weaker or reversed effects for African-American and Hispanic youth than for white youth. For example, high parents' education increases smoking among Hispanic youth, has little influence among African Americans, and decreases smoking among whites. These results suggest that smoking patterns of minority teens differ in some ways from those of white teens.

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