Transnational, social, and neighborhood ties and smoking among Latino immigrants: does gender matter?

Carmela Alcántara, Kristine M Molina, Ichiro Kawachi
American Journal of Public Health 2015, 105 (4): 741-9

OBJECTIVES: We examined whether transnational ties, social ties, and neighborhood ties were independently associated with current smoking status among Latino immigrants. We also tested interactions to determine whether these associations were moderated by gender.

METHODS: We conducted a series of weighted logistic regression analyses (i.e., economic remittances, number of return visits, friend support, family support, and neighborhood cohesion) using the Latino immigrant subsample (n = 1629) of the National Latino and Asian American Study in 2002 and 2003.

RESULTS: The number of past-year return visits to the country-of-origin was positively associated with current smoker status. Gender moderated the association between economic remittances, friend support, and smoking. Remittance behavior had a protective association with smoking, and this association was particularly pronounced for Latino immigrant women. Friendship support lowered the odds of smoking among men, but not women.

CONCLUSIONS: Our results underscore the growing importance of transnational networks for understanding Latino immigrant health and the gendered patterns of the associations between social ties, transnational ties, and health risk behaviors.

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