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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Kentucky: Social Context and Risk Awareness Influence Tobacco and Marijuana Use by African American Women

A new study from the University of Kentucky (UK) explores the effects of African American women’s social context and substance use perceptions (wrongfulness/harmfulness/dangerousness) on daily tobacco and marijuana use. Dr. Carrie Oser, UK College of Arts and Sciences Department of Sociology and the Center for Drug and Alcohol Research (CDAR), is the first author. Co-authors include Dr. Kathi Harp, University of Kentucky College of Public Health Department of Health Management & Policy; Dr. Erin Pullen, Indiana University Network Science Institute; Dr. Amanda M. Bunting, UK College of Arts & Sciences Department of Sociology; and Dr. Danelle Stevens-Watkins, UK College of Medicine Department of Behavioral Science and CDAR.

Investigators collected data in-person from 521 African American women. 52.59 percent of participants reported daily tobacco use, and 10.56 percent used marijuana daily. Multivariate models indicated that women were more likely to be daily tobacco users if they had a family member with a substance use problem or perceived tobacco use to be wrong, harmful, or more dangerous than marijuana. In the models with marijuana as the dependent variable, women who lived with a person who used drugs were more likely to use marijuana daily. Perceiving marijuana use as wrong or harmful to one’s health was protective against daily marijuana use.

“Findings stress the need for prevention and intervention efforts for African-American women that highlight social context influences and promote greater awareness of the health risks associated with daily tobacco and marijuana use,” the authors conclude.