Resilience and Biomarkers of Health Risk in Black Smokers and Nonsmokers

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Abstract

Objectives: Blacks are disproportionately affected by tobacco-related illnesses as well as traumatic events associated with psychiatric conditions and smoking. We examined the potential protective nature of resilience within this context, hypothesizing resilience differentially moderates the associations of traumatic experiences to depressive symptoms and to biomarkers of health risk among Black ever versus never smokers. Method: Measures of resilience, traumatic experiences, depressive symptoms, and biomarkers (interleukin-6 [IL-6], C-reactive protein [CRP], allostatic load) were obtained among 852 Blacks recruited from Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta. Results: Ever smokers experienced more trauma (p < .001) and depressive symptoms (p = .01). Structural equation modeling indicated that, in ever smokers, childhood trauma was positively associated with depressive symptoms (p < .001); resilience was negatively associated with depressive symptoms (p = .01). Depressive symptoms were positively associated with IL-6 (p = .03), which was positively associated with allostatic load (p = .01). Adulthood trauma was associated with higher CRP levels (p = .03). In never smokers, childhood (p < .001) and adulthood trauma (p = .01) were associated with more depressive symptoms. Adulthood trauma was also associated with higher CRP levels (p < .001), which was positively associated with allostatic load (p < .001). Never smokers with higher resilience had a negative association between childhood trauma and depressive symptoms whereas those with lower resilience had a positive association between childhood trauma and depressive symptoms. Resilience was negatively associated with CRP levels (p < .001). Conclusions: Interventions targeting resilience may prevent smoking and adverse health outcomes.

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