Racial discrimination’s influence on smoking rates among American Indian Alaska Native two-spirit individuals: Does pain play a role?

Michelle D. Johnson-Jennings, Annie Belcourt, Matthew Town, Melissa L. Walls, Karina L. Walters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations


High rates of racial discrimination and non-ceremonial tobacco smoking exist among American Indian/Alaska Native (AIAN) Two-Spirit/LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) populations. The authors examined whether or not pain mediates between racial discrimination and smoking among Two-Spirits. Two-Spirit adults (n=447) from seven urban U.S. locations were surveyed during the HONOR project. The Indigenist stress coping model was used as framework in which to conduct descriptive, bivariate and regression analyses. A majority of the participants reported smoking (45.2%) and pain (57%). Pain was found to mediate the association between racial discrimination and smoking. Racial discrimination appears to be a significant factor influencing tobacco smoking and health behaviors within Two-Spirit populations. Effective tobacco cessation and/or prevention planning for Two-Spirits and others who experience frequent racial discrimination, stress, and trauma should also consider the influence of pain. Pain may serve as the embodiment of discrimination, and this possibility requires future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1667-1678
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of health care for the poor and underserved
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014



  • American Indians
  • Indigenist stress coping
  • Intersectionality
  • Lesbian gay bisexual transgender (LGBT) health care disparities
  • Pain
  • Racial discrimination
  • Tobacco/cigarette smoking
  • Two-Spirits

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