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Publication Abstract

Authors: Jun HJ, Acevedo-Garcia D

Title: The effect of single motherhood on smoking by socioeconomic status and race/ethnicity.

Journal: Soc Sci Med 65(4):653-66

Date: 2007 Aug

Abstract: We examined the association between parenting young children and smoking among US single women compared with married women, and whether this effect is moderated by socioeconomic status and race/ethnicity. Our main finding is that having children reduces smoking except among single white women, and women with low income. We used the Tobacco Use Supplement of the Current Population Survey, a nationally representative dataset (1995-96, n=70,019). Log-binomial regression analysis was used to estimate the association between parenting responsibility (i.e., presence of children aged 0-4 and 5-17) and daily smoking status, after taking into consideration marital status, income, and race/ethnicity. Single women faced a higher risk of smoking than married women. Parenting was protective against smoking among married women but not among single women. Additionally, among single women, the associations between parenting and smoking varied by income and race/ethnicity. Parenting increased the risk of smoking among single women in the lowest income quartile. Single black and Hispanic women with children had a risk of smoking similar to that of their childless counterparts. However, single white women with children were more likely to smoke than their childless counterparts. Smoking cessation interventions and programs to reduce environmental tobacco smoke should recognize that the co-occurrence of single motherhood, parenting responsibility and low-income may increase the risk of smoking. This is particularly significant given the rapid growth of the single women population, and their concentration in poverty in the USA. The finding that parenting is protective against smoking among single minority women, who presumably experience significant stressors, calls for a more thorough investigation of smoking behavior among minority women, and suggests the importance of stress buffers such as social support.

Last Modified: 03 Sep 2013