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National LGBT tobacco control networkAbout the Network

2010-03-15: New study highlights the use of tobacco as a coping strategy for LGB Youth

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Cigarette Smoking as a Coping Strategy: Negative Implications for Subsequent Psychological Distress Among Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Youths.

Rosario M, Schrimshaw EW, Hunter J.

Department of Psychology, The City University of New York - City College and Graduate Center, Department of Sociomedical Sciences, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, and HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies, New York State Psychiatric Institute.

OBJECTIVE: The heightened risk of cigarette smoking found among lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) youths may be because smoking serves as a coping strategy used to adapt to the greater stress experienced by LGB youths. The current report examines whether smoking moderates the relation between stress and subsequent psychological distress, and whether alternative coping resources (i.e., social support) moderate the relation between smoking and subsequent distress. METHOD: An ethnically diverse sample of 156 LGB youths was followed longitudinally for 1 year. RESULTS: Significant interactions demonstrated that smoking amplified the association between stress and subsequent anxious distress, depressive distress, and conduct problems. Both friend and family support buffered the association between smoking and subsequent distress. CONCLUSIONS: Smoking has negative implications for the distress of LGB youths, especially those reporting high levels of stress or few supports. Interventions and supportive services for LGB youths should incorporate smoking cessation to maximally alleviate distress.