Sexual Orientation and Adolescent Smoking Trajectories

Michael S. Pollard, RAND Corporation
Joan Tucker, RAND Corporation
Harold Green, RAND Corporation
David P. Kennedy, RAND Corporation
Myong-Hyun Go, Pardee RAND Graduate School

Cross-sectional research indicates that lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) individuals are at greater risk of smoking. This analysis furthers the examination of smoking behaviors across sexual orientation groups by describing a range of smoking trajectories experienced by adolescents with heterosexual and LGB orientations, as well as how changes in sexual orientation over time are linked to these trajectories. Trajectories are estimated separately for men and women using the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. Six distinct smoking trajectories are identified (Never Smokers, Steady Lows, Delayed Increasers, Early Increasers, Decreasers, Steady Highs). Sexual orientation effects were found only for women. The transition to LGB orientation was more predictive of higher smoking trajectories than was a consistent LGB orientation, with potentially important differences between the smoking patterns of these two groups.

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Presented in Session 189: Gender Stratification and Health