Why do girls smoke? A path analysis of mother-daughter connectedness, self-concept, race/ethnicity and smoking behavior of mothers and friends as contributors to smoking behavior in teenage girls
The purpose of this dissertation was to perform a path analysis in order to identify significant variables/constructs that relate to smoking in teenage girls. In addition, the analysis was performed to identify race/ethnic variations in the contributors to smoking in teenage girls. The goal of performing this research study was to advance knowledge about the reasons and influences that lead teenage girls to start smoking. By doing so, health educators and health care providers would have additional knowledge and tools to implement in efforts aimed at reducing smoking in this population.
A secondary analysis of data from the public-use version of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) was used for this research study. This survey data includes a population of adolescents representative of adolescents residing in the United States. The purpose of the Add Health survey was to investigate and identify behaviors, individual and community factors, and demographic and health-related variables of adolescents with the intention of providing a greater understanding of the factors that promote and/or protect against risky behaviors. This purpose and design make the Add Health data-set particularly well suited for this research design.
Findings from this study identify a model of variables/constructs that significantly influence smoking in teenage girls. These variables/constructs include residential mother-daughter connectedness, self-concept, residential mother's smoking behavior and friends smoking behavior. All these variables/constructs are significantly associated with smoking in White teenage girls. Residential mother-daughter connectedness and friends smoking behavior are significantly associated with smoking in Black teenage girls. Friends smoking behavior is the only variable in this study found to be significantly associated with smoking in Hispanic teenage girls. However, residential mother-daughter connectedness was significantly associated with more positive self-concept in all race/ethnic groups of teenage girls.
This study confirmed the high incidence of smoking in teenage girls and the rising rates of smoking in both the Black and Hispanic populations of teenage girls. Moreover, results suggest that the influential and protective factors related to smoking vary with race/ethnicity. Constructs of self-concepts also may need to be defined differently for different race/ethnic groups as well as investigating intracultural differences, definitions, and influences on mother-daughter connectedness.