Introduction: Studies have consistently documented the importance of examining light smoking among African American and Latino adolescent and adult smokers. Little is known, however, about the psychosocial antecedents of adolescent and young adult light smoking in these racial/ ethnic minority groups. Methods: This study examined the longitudinal interrelationships and pathways leading to light smoking among African Americans (n = 288) and Puerto Ricans (n = 262). Specifically, we assessed parental factors, perceived discrimination, peer smoking, personality factors, and light smoking in late adolescence as precursors to light smoking among African American and Puerto Rican young adults. Results: The results of structural equation modeling showed that a history of greater parental smoking, less parental educational attainment, and more perceived discrimination were each mediated by peer smoking and the youth's maladaptive personality and behavior in late adolescence. The youth's maladaptive personality and behavioral characteristics and light smoking in late adolescence, in turn, predicted light smoking in young adulthood. There were no significant racial/ethnic or gender differences in the pathways to light smoking. Discussion: Findings highlight the longitudinal pathways to light smoking among African Americans and Puerto Ricans. The results suggest that effective prevention and cessation programs must address peer and parental social influences, perceived discrimination, and especially, emotional and behavioral problems in late adolescence to reduce light smoking among late adolescents and young adults in these racial/ethnic groups.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health