Stressful life events, ethnic identity, historical trauma, and participation in cultural activities: Associations with smoking behaviors among American Indian adolescents in California

Claradina Soto, Lourdes Baezconde-Garbanati, Seth J. Schwartz, Jennifer B. Unger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

Introduction: American Indian (AI) adolescents have the highest prevalence of commercial tobacco use of any ethnic group in the United States. This study examines ethnic identity (EI), participation in cultural activities, and stressful life events (SLEs) as correlates of smoking and examines historical trauma (HT) as a mediator of these associations. Methods: California AI youth (N. =. 969, ages 13-19, recruited from 49 tribal youth organizations and cultural activities in urban and reservation areas in California) completed a tobacco survey. Structural equation modeling was used to test a model examining HT as a potential mediator of the associations of EI, participation in cultural activities, and SLEs with cigarette smoking. Results: Model fit was adequate. EI, participation in cultural activities, and SLEs predicted HT. HT mediated the associations of participation in cultural activities and SLEs with past-month smoking. Stronger EI predicted greater past-month smoking and this effect was mediated by greater HT. The direct effects from HT to both smoking outcomes were positive and the direct effect from EI to past-month smoking was negative. Conclusions: HT is a risk factor for cigarette smoking both directly and in mediating the links of EI, cultural activities, and SLEs. More efforts are needed to help AI youth to process these thoughts and empower themselves to contribute to their own lives and those of their families and communities without resorting to unhealthy addictive behaviors such as commercial tobacco use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)64-69
Number of pages6
JournalAddictive Behaviors
Volume50
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2015

Keywords

  • Adolescent
  • American Indian
  • Cultural activities
  • Ethnic identity
  • Historical trauma
  • Smoking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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