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Am J Public Health. 2007 Oct;97(10):1865-72. Epub 2007 Aug 29.

Neighborhood residence and cigarette smoking among urban youths: the protective role of prosocial activities.

Author information

1
Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor 48109-2029, USA. yxue@umich.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

We examined the association between neighborhood characteristics and cigarette use among adolescents and explored the protective effects of participation in prosocial activities to better understand strengths in adolescents' lives and help identify protective factors for the prevention of adolescent smoking.

METHODS:

We interviewed ninth graders who had grade point averages of 3.0 or lower and who were not developmentally disabled. Participants' addresses were geocoded so that interview data could be linked to 1990 US census data on neighborhood characteristics.

RESULTS:

Neighborhood disadvantage and the percentage of Black residents in a neighborhood had different effects on cigarette smoking among Black and White adolescents. Living in a neighborhood with a high percentage of Black residents had favorable effects for Blacks but not for Whites. For both groups, a low percentage of Black residents was a risk factor for cigarette use, and risk effects were higher in the more disadvantaged neighborhoods. Involvement in prosocial activities moderated neighborhood risks.

CONCLUSIONS:

Neighborhood effects on adolescent cigarette use were contingent upon both contextual and individual characteristics. Participation in prosocial activities had a protective effect among adolescents in high-risk neighborhoods. Engaging adolescents in such activities may help offset the adverse effects of living in a disadvantaged neighborhood.

PMID:
17761584
PMCID:
PMC1994184
DOI:
10.2105/AJPH.2005.081307
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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