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Susceptibility to smoking among Chinese-Canadian non-smoking adolescents Chen, Weihong

Abstract

Susceptibility to smoking has been widely measured in an effort to detect those teens who lack of a firm commitment to not smoke. This measure, however, has not been applied to Chinese-Canadian adolescents. The overall goal of this study was to understand susceptibility to smoking among Chinese-Canadian non-smoking teens. The dissertation includes three papers, each of which has addressed one of the three primary aims of this study. The first paper aims to document the prevalence of susceptibility to smoking among a sample of non-smoking teens in British Columbia, Canada, and to examine the factors that explain the variation in susceptibility to smoking. I employed a quantitative secondary analysis of data from the BC Youth Survey of Smoking and Health. More than one quarter of the respondents were found to be susceptible. The Chinese-Canadian adolescents appeared to have a similar rate of susceptibility to smoking as their White/Caucasian counterparts, even though the smoking prevalence was lower among Chinese-Canadian group than in White/Caucasian group. In the second paper, I explored non-smoking Chinese-Canadian adolescents’ views about the protective factors and the risk factors that might lead them to be susceptible to smoking. In this paper I report an analysis of four qualitative focus groups which included 24 Chinese-Canadian participants. Negative attitudes toward smoking, befriending non-smoking teens, being peer pressured not to smoke and a collectivist cultural perspective were identified as protectors that helped Chinese Canadian teens remain tobacco free in their adolescence. The teens argued that authoritarian parenting had both positive and negative effects on Chinese teens’ susceptibility to smoking. These findings enhanced our understanding of the role that an ethnic group’s culture might play in adolescent smoking. In the third paper, I use Chinese-Canadian teens’ perspectives to reconsider the operationalization of the measure of susceptibility to smoking. Avoiding absolute answers was viewed by the participants as a unique cultural style among Chinese-Canadian teens. They also commented on the ambiguity of using the term “smoking” in the smoking susceptibility measure. Further research is needed to gain a better understanding of the operationalization of the measure in this cultural group.

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