A multilevel analysis of gender, Latino immigrant enclaves, and tobacco use behavior

Jennifer Cantrell
Journal of Urban Health 2014, 91 (5): 928-39
Research suggests that immigrant enclaves positively influence health behaviors such as tobacco use through supportive social networks and informal social control mechanisms that promote healthy behavioral norms. Yet, the influence of social cohesion and control on tobacco use may depend on smoking-related norms, which can vary by gender. This study examines the influence of neighborhood Latino immigrant enclave status on smoking and cessation among Hispanic men and women. Data from the Los Angeles Family and Neighborhood Survey was combined with census data to assess the relationship between immigrant enclaves, gender, and smoking using multilevel regression. The effect of the Hispanic enclave environment on smoking differed by gender. Living in an enclave had a harmful effect on tobacco use among Hispanic men, marginally increasing the likelihood of smoking and significantly reducing cessation. This effect was independent of neighborhood socioeconomic status, nativity, and other individual demographics. Neighborhood immigrant concentration was not associated with smoking or cessation for Hispanic women. Research, interventions, and policies aimed at reducing smoking among Hispanics may need to be gender responsive to ensure effectiveness as well as health and gender equity.

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