Pathways between socioeconomic status and modifiable risk factors among African American smokers

Darla E. Kendzor, Michael S. Businelle, Carlos A. Mazas, Ludmila M. Cofta-Woerpel, Lorraine R. Reitzel, Jennifer Irvin Vidrine, Yisheng Li, Tracy J. Costello, Paul M. Cinciripini, Jasjit S. Ahluwalia, David W. Wetter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Although socioeconomic status is a major contributing factor to health disparities, the mechanisms through which socioeconomic status influences health remain unclear. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate an a priori conceptual model of the pathways between socioeconomic status and modifiable health risk factors in a sample of 399 African Americans seeking smoking cessation treatment. A latent variable modeling approach was utilized to characterize the interrelationships among socioeconomic status, neighborhood disadvantage, social support, negative affect/perceived stress, and three specific modifiable risk factors (i.e., overweight/obesity, insufficient physical activity, at-risk drinking). Findings indicated that neighborhood disadvantage, social support, and negative affect/perceived stress function as pathways linking socioeconomic status and modifiable risk factors among African American smokers, and negative affect/perceived stress appears to play a key mediating role. Policy, community, and individual-level interventions may attenuate the impact of socioeconomic status on health by targeting intermediate psychosocial, environmental, and behavioral pathways.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)545-557
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Behavioral Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2009

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments This research was supported by grants R01-CA094826, R01-CA125413, and R25T-CA57730 awarded by the National Cancer Institute, and grants K01-DP001120 and K01-DP000086 awarded by the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.


  • African American
  • Alcohol
  • Obesity
  • Physical activity
  • Smoking
  • Socioeconomic status


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