A University of Missouri study examining the behaviors of Native American youths has found that family support and participation in school activities are two protective factors associated with decreased smoking rates.
The study, published in Addictive Behaviors, collected data from more than 600 adolescents living on rural reservations in the United States and Canada. Among youths engaged in only occasional tobacco use, family warmth and support were indicators of decreased rates of occasional smoking over time. Also, participating in positive activities at school had a protective effect in keeping nonsmokers and occasional smokers from becoming regular smokers.
“Tobacco use among all adolescents has been declining; however, we are still seeing higher rates in Native American populations,” said researcher Mansoo Yu, associate professor of social work and public health in the university's School of Social Work.
He added with regard to the study's findings, “This is helpful information for families, schools, social workers and public health officials that are looking for ways to decrease smoking on reservations and in indigenous communities.”