Socioeconomic Correlates of Smoking Among an Ethnically Diverse Sample of 8th Grade Adolescents in Southern California

Document Type



Community and Global Health (CGU)

Publication Date



Inequality and Stratification | Mental and Social Health | Race and Ethnicity | Substance Abuse and Addiction


Objective. Socioeconomic status (SES) has been associated with smoking among adolescents, but it is not known which attributes of SES are responsible for the added risk, or whether these associations are consistent in ethnically diverse samples.

Methods. This study investigated the associations between SES variables and smoking behavior among an ethnically diverse sample of 1847 8th grade adolescents in Southern California in 2002. Several aspects of SES were examined: an objective composite measure of family and neighborhood SES, the adolescent's spending money, and the adolescent's perception of SES (family's ability to afford basic necessities, wealth relative to others, and wealth relative to last year).

Results. After controlling for demographic characteristics, smoking behavior of parents and friends, and parental monitoring, low scores on the objective SES index and large amounts of pocket money were associated with an increased risk of smoking. The subjective measures of perceived SES were not associated with smoking.

Conclusions. Results indicate that increased smoking prevention efforts are needed in low-SES areas, and that limiting adolescents' pocket money may be an effective strategy for preventing smoking

Rights Information

© 2007 Elsevier Inc.