Risk and Protective Factors for Tobacco Use Among 8th- and 10th-Grade African American Students in Virginia
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Risk and Protective Factors for Tobacco Use Among 8th- and 10th-Grade African American Students in Virginia

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      Prev Chronic Dis
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      Few studies have simultaneously examined the influence of multiple domains of risk and protective factors for smoking among African Americans. This study identified individual-peer, family, school, and community risk and protective factors that predict early cigarette use among African American adolescents.


      Data from 1,056 African American 8th and 10th graders who completed the 2005 Community Youth Survey in Virginia were analyzed by using logistic regression.


      The prevalence of smoking among the weighted sample population was 11.2%. In univariate analyses, the strongest predictors of smoking were low academic achievement, peer drug use, and early substance use (individual domain). In multivariate analyses, these factors and being in the 10th grade were significant predictors. The single protective factor in multivariate analyses was in the school domain (rewards for prosocial behavior in the school setting). When family and community variables were entered into a model in which individual-peer and school factors were controlled for, these variables were not significantly associated with smoking, and they failed to improve model fit.


      These findings suggest that tobacco prevention programs that aim to increase school connectedness while decreasing youth risk behaviors might be useful in preventing cigarette use among African American adolescents. Given the relative importance of peer drug use in predicting smoking among African American youth, more work is needed that explores the accuracy of youths' perceptions of their friends' cigarette use and how family factors may moderate this risk.

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