206557 Association between cigarette smoking and social capital in the Black Belt region of Alabama

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

H.R. Foushee, PhD , Center for the Study of Community Health, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL
Suparna Bagchi, MSPH , Department of Maternal and Child Health, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL
Connie Kohler, DrPH , Department of Health Behavior, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL
The Black Belt region of Alabama is characterized by a rural, largely African American population with high poverty rates and excessive disease burden. Previous research has demonstrated that health status is positively related to measures of social capital, which can be described as community social organization. This study examined the association of cigarette smoking and social capital in this traditionally underserved area. To accomplish this goal, an interviewer-administered, in-person survey was completed with 1380 adult residents of seven Black Belt counties in Alabama. Questions regarding cigarette smoking ascertained if participants ever smoked, currently smoke, smoke daily, and have smoked 100 or more cigarettes in their lives. Social capital questions examined community differences, community limitations, trust, selfishness, and participation in general, charitable, and protest activities. Overall, about 35% of the respondents had ever smoked and 18% currently smoke. Of those who do smoke, 70% smoke daily and 75% have smoked at least 100 cigarettes in their lifetime. Bivariate analyses revealed that several social capital measures were significantly associated with ever smoking, current smoking, and daily smoking. Multivariate analyses demonstrated that ratings of community selfishness were significantly associated with all smoking measures. In addition, having ever smoked was significantly related to general and charitable participation, while current smoking was significantly associated with ratings of community differences and charitable participation. Consequently, efforts to improve social capital may result in reduced levels of smoking in that community. Thus, in designing interventions targeting smoking behavior, researchers should consider ways to increase social capital.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the use of tobacco products among an underserved, rural population. 2. Assess the association between cigarette smoking and social capital meaures. 3. Identify social capital components that may be incorporated into smoking cessation programs.

Keywords: Tobacco, Rural Communities

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have a PhD in social psychology and fifteen years of experience in survey research. I assisted in the study design, questionniare construction, data collection, and analysis for this study.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.