Racial resentment and smoking

Frank L. Samson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Racial resentment (also known as symbolic racism) is among the most widely tested measures of contemporary prejudice in political science and social psychological research over the past thirty years. Proponents argue that racial resentment reflects anti-black emotion obtained through pre-adult socialization. In light of affect-based models of substance use, this paper examined the association between racial resentment and smoking in a national sample of non-Hispanic white, black, and Hispanic respondents. Data come from the 2012 American National Election Study, which contained two measures of smoking. The results of ordinal logistic regression models indicate a positive association between racial resentment and smoking among non-Hispanic whites (N=2133) that is not present among blacks (N=693) or Hispanics (N=660). Models controlled for age, education, income, gender, political ideology, region, and mode of interview. Furthermore, analyses indicated that a measure of race-related affect, admiration and sympathy towards blacks, partially mediated the association between racial resentment and smoking. For non-Hispanic whites, racial resentment appears to constitute a risk factor for smoking. Future studies should further specify the conditions linking substance use to the race-related affective component of racial resentment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)164-168
Number of pages5
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
StatePublished - Feb 1 2015


  • African American
  • Negative affect
  • Prejudice
  • Race
  • Smoking
  • USA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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